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Substitute Mir hits hat-trick to fire Spain into Olympic semis

Published : Sunday, 1 August, 2021 at 12:00 AM  Count : 407

Spain's forward Rafa Mir (L) heads a shot towards the Egyptian goal during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games men's group C first round football match between Egypt and Spain at Sapporo Dome in Sapporo on July 22, 2021. 	photo: AFP

Spain's forward Rafa Mir (L) heads a shot towards the Egyptian goal during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games men's group C first round football match between Egypt and Spain at Sapporo Dome in Sapporo on July 22, 2021. photo: AFP

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





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