Sergio Aguero scored two second-half goals in seven minutes Tuesday and later
set up another to lead Argentina to a 3-0 win over rival Brazil and into its
second straight Olympic final.
Aguero opened the scoring for the defending champions by chesting in a left-side
cross in the 52nd minute, then scored again from two meters on a cross from the
right in the 58th. Aguero also set up a 76th-minute penalty kick that was
converted by Juan Roman Riquelme.
It was the first victory for Argentina against Brazil in three years. It hadn't
beaten Brazil since a 3-1 victory in a World Cup qualifier in June 2005.
"It's not a score you see every day when Brazil and Argentina play," Argentina
coach Sergio Batista said. "Argentina had a great match, with intelligence and
The Argentine players huddled near midfield after the match and chanted to
celebrate. The Argentines also did some celebrating inside the team's bus as it
was ready to leave the stadium, jumping around and singing together.
Argentina, trying to become the first nation to win consecutive titles in 40
years, will now face Nigeria in a rematch of the 1996 final in Atlanta, when the
Africans won 3-2 for their first and only title.
Brazil will have to wait at least another four years to try to win its first
Olympic gold medal. It is the only significant title the five-time world
champions have never won.
The match in front of a crowd of nearly 53,000 at Workers' Stadium marked the
encounter of the tournament's top stars, former FC Barcelona teammates Lionel
Messi and Ronaldinho.
Both players displayed their uncanny skills, but Messi threatened the most and
created dangerous scoring chances for Argentina. In his first Olympics, the
midfielder set up Argentina's second and third goals, while AC Milan's
Ronaldinho struck the post with a free kick as he tried to put Brazil back into
Messi sent a dangerous shot across the area in the 32nd, and had one of his best
chances in the 41st after clearing three defenders inside the area before firing
a shot that was barely saved by goalkeeper Renan.
Aguero ran past defender Breno to open the scoring after Angel di Maria's cross,
then easily added to the lead in front of the goal mouth after Ezequiel Garay's
set-up. Messi started the play on the second goal by eluding several defenders
before feeding the ball to Garay.
Messi also set up Aguero inside the area before he was fouled by Breno in the
play that prompted the penalty kick, which Riquelme converted with a
right-footed shot into the middle of the net.
After Aguero's first goal, striker Rafael Sobis almost equalized with a powerful
low shot that struck the post in the 60th. Ronaldinho also hit the post on a
free kick in the 65th. Substitute forward Alexandre Pato scored after the free
kick, but the goal was disallowed for offside.
"We played an even match with them, it was a hard game, as usual," Brazil coach
Dunga said. "But they got the first goal and that made things difficult."
Brazil midfielder Lucas was sent off in the 81st after a foul from behind on
Liverpool teammate Javier Mascherano. Substitute midfielder Thiago Neves was
red-carded just three minutes later after another hard foul on Mascherano.
"It was Argentina's best match in the Olympics so far," Batista said. "It was a
The teams had drawn 0-0 in World Cup qualifying earlier in June, but Brazil
routed Argentina 3-0 in last year's Copa America and won by the same score in a
friendly in London in 2006.
"Now we will try to win the bronze," Pato said. "It will still be an honor to
win that medal."
In the other semifinal, Nigeria beat Belgium 4-1 in Shanghai after Chinedu
Ogbuke Obasi scored two goals and Olubayo Adefemi and Chibuzor Okonkwo added one
each for the 1996 Olympic champions.