Brazil and Belgium lead the charge to men's football semi-finals

Society Materials 16 August 2008 18:15 (UTC +04:00)

Brazil and Belgium advanced to the men's Olympic football semi-finals Saturday with wins against Cameroon and Italy respectively - Brazil in extra time, and Belgium down to 10 men for most of their match. ( dpa )

The results set up semi-finals next Tuesday between Brazil and either Argentina or the Netherlands - playing later Saturday - and between Belgium and either Nigeria or Cote d'Ivoire, also meeting later.

Rafael Sobis and Marcelo struck in the 11th and 15th minutes of extra time in Brazil's tough task against Cameroon, the side they were longing to beat after being knocked out of the 2000 Olympic tournament by them in Sydney.

The win in Shenyang Olympic Stadium was a hard-fought affair which left the Ronaldinho-directed attack again and again frustrated by a determined Indominatable Lions defence.

Ronaldinho tested Cameroon goalkeeper Amour Tignyemb from a free kick early on, and later produced a cross that went just wide off the head of Rafael Sobis.

Cameroon's Albert Baning was sent off early in the second half for a foul on Lucas - but while Brazil had most of the possession, the match ground into extra time.

Then, in the 101st minute, a long pass from Diego found Rafael Sobis, and the Real Betis striker coolly finished. Four minutes later, a Ronaldinho and Thiago Neves build-up found Marcelo in front of goal to hit home.

In their Beijing Workers' Stadium encounter, Belgium's winner came from a 79th-minute from Moussa Dembele - the striker's second of the match after he opened his side's scoring with a 23rd-minute header off a corner.

That goal levelled up Guiseppe Rossi's 18th-minute penalty opener for Italy after Thomas Vermaelen had been shown the red card by Argentine referee Hector Baldassi for hauling down the lively Robert Acquafresca in the area.

Dembele's strike partner Kevin Mirallas hit home in first-half injury time to let the Belgians take a lead into half time.

Rossi struck again from the penalty spot in the 74th minute for the Italians after Sepp De Roover fouled Paolo De Ceglie in the area.

Five minutes later, Dembele got the winner, latching onto the through ball from substitute Anthony Vanden Borre. Italian goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano was sent off in an ensuing tussle with Mirallas.