Substitute Mir hits hat-trick to fire Spain into Olympic semis
MIYAGI, JULY 31: Substitute Rafa Mir hit a hat-trick as Spain finally saw off Ivory Coast 5-2 in extra time in the Tokyo Olympics men's quarter-finals on Saturday.
The Spaniards are one of the gold medal favourites after naming a strong squad featuring six members of the team that reached the Euro 2020 semi-finals.
But they suffered a major fright before reaching the last four, even if the scoreline suggested otherwise.
Spain were just minutes from going out when forward Max Gradel's deflected strike made it 2-1 to the Ivorians in the 91st minute of normal time.
But the Spaniards responded almost immediately, Wolves forward Mir lashing in from close range to force extra time, just a minute after coming on.
Manchester United defender Eric Bailly then conceded a penalty for handball after the intervention of VAR, with Mikel Oyarzabal stroking the ball in for a 3-2 Spain lead in the 98th minute.
Mir struck twice in the dying minutes to put extra gloss on the scoreline.
In the other quarter-finals, hosts Japan play New Zealand, Brazil face Egypt and South Korea are up against Mexico. -AFP