Mexico win gold to keep Brazil waiting for elusive Olympic title
Mexico deservedly beat Brazil 2-1 in the men’s Olympic football final to claim gold and extend their opponents long wait for Olympic glory.
Oribe Peralta opened the scoring in the first minute of the game before doubling Mexico’s lead with a well-taken header mid-way through the second half.
Porto striker Hulk gave Brazil hope when he pulled a goal back in injury time but Mexico were able to hold on to their slender lead and claim their first football gold medal.
For Brazil, the wait goes on to secure the one major trophy that has eluded them but they can have no complaints after a lacklustre display in which they were outplayed in every department by their opponents.
Going into the game, Mano Menezes’ side were huge favourites to bring the gold back to Rio but they got off to the worst possible start as Peralta stunned the Wembley crowd with one of the quickest goals in Olympic history.
Manchester United defender Rafael, who endured a torrid time throughout, was at fault as his pass was too short for Sandro, allowing Javier Aquino to intercept.
The ball then fell invitingly into the path of Peralta who moved towards Brazil’s penalty area unimpeded before placing a low shot into the bottom corner after just 29 seconds.
Brazil struggled the find their rhythm in the opening 30 minutes and Menenzes responded by bringing on Hulk for Sandro.
The change appeared to reinvigorate Brazil as Hulk nearly found the breakthrough with a stunning 35-yard strike that Jose Corona just managed to keep out.
Real Madrid full-back Marcelo should have equalised just before the break but he shot wide when well placed following good build-up play from Oscar and Leandro Damiao.
Mexico continued to frustrate Brazil, and in particular Neymar, after the break as the Santos striker saw two efforts drift wide and another blocked.
Brazil nearly found themselves two goals behind when Fabian Marco broke clean through but found himself pushed wide by the onrushing Gabriel in the Brazil goal.
With his back to goal, Fabian attempted an overhead kick which drifted on to the bar and bounced to safety.
Mexico did double their lead around 15 minutes from time as Peralta powerfully headed home from a Fabian free-kick.
It proved to be a vital goal as Brazil reduced the arrears late on after Hulk latched onto a long ball and slotted home from close range.
Chelsea new boy Oscar nearly forced extra time when he lost his marker in the box but he could only head over when well positioned.
That proved to be the last action of the game as Mexico held on to claim the gold while Brazil will look to go back to the drawing board as they prepare for next year’s Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup.
Laurence Taylor, Football correspondent