Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Olympics Football: Kessie earns Ivory Coast win, Egypt hold Spain

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The Pharaohs picked up a point against La Roja, as the Elephants collected maximum points against the Middle Eastern nation

Franck Kessie of AC Milan scored to give Ivory Coast a 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia in the Olympic Games encounter on Thursday at the Yokohama International Stadium, while Egypt held Spain in the day’s earlier kick-off.

Saudi Arabia’s Abdulelah Al-Amri scored an own goal in the 39th minute before Salem Al-Dawsari equalised for the Asian country in the 44th minute. Kessie handed the African nation the win with his 66th-minute goal before they were reduced to 10 men when Aboubacar Doumbia was sent off in the seventh minute of added time.

Kessie, whose future at AC Milan continues to attract speculation given that his contract will end in 2022, opened his Olympic goal account when he found the back of the net after he received a cross at the edge of the box and fired into the bottom corner. 

Earlier, Egypt and Spain shared the points in a 0-0 draw in their early kick-off.

Spain launched a first-minute attack but Mikel Oyarzabal shot wide after he had been put through on goal by Pedri.

Real Madrid’s Dani Ceballos was unable to continue after a collision with Mohamed Taher and the Spanish star, who was on loan to Arsenal last season, had to be replaced by Osasuna’s Jon Moncayola, with Taher only getting a yellow card.

Oscar Mingueza attempted to find the top corner in the 27th minute, but his shot went wide as Egypt kept their shape at the back despite attacks from the rivals. Three minutes before the first half ended, Taher took a shot that found its way past the Spanish defensive line but flew over the bar.

Egypt’s Mohamed Ashour did well to block Mikel Merino’s effort in the 48th minute. The Real Sociedad star had been put through on goal by the Real Madrid winger Marco Asensio. 

Mikel Oyarzabal was stopped by Ahmed Hegazy in the 52nd minute when the Spanish star entered the box and was about to launch a close-range shot. 

The Pharaohs made their first changes in the 62nd minute, with Taher going out for Ammar Hamdy as Ahmed Yasser Rayyan left the pitch and his place was taken by Marwan Mohsen. Spain waited until the 67th minute when Merino was substituted by Carlos Soler, and a minute later, Asensio was replaced by rumoured Tottenham Hotspur target Bryan Gil.

Gerardo Miranda almost made his way into the Egyptian box in the 77th minute, Hegazy brought him down a few metres from the edge of the box, but Spain’s cries for a penalty were dismissed.

Mohamed El Shenawy made a good save to deny La Roja an opener in the 87th minute after Raphael Mir had risen high enough to head a cross delivered by Miranda. The Al Ahly goalkeeper was also alert to stop Soler from scoring from close range in the first minute of added time. 

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