August 7, 2012
DIGGING FOR GOLD
Mexico rallies past Mexico 3-1 in Olympic semifinal
LONDON—Mexico recovered from a shaky start to defeat Japan 3-1 in Tuesday’s Olympic semifinal at Wembley Stadium, and will return to the fabled London pitch on Saturday for the Gold Medal match against Brazil.
Japan had not allowed a goal since defeating El Tri 2-1 in a pre-tournament tuneup match in Birmingham, and dominated the early minutes of the match with crisp passing, lockdown defense and a 12th-minute goal by Yuki Otsu. Marco Fabian equalized in the 31st, and rejuvenated the Mexican attack. Oribe Peralta turned an error by defender Takahiro Ogihara into the game-winning goal in the 65th, and substitute Javier Cortes padded the margin in stoppage time.
Otsu’s third goal of the tournament, a 22-yarder into the upper right side of the net, capped an extended passing sequence by Japan in Mexico’s end of the field.
Fabian was on the finishing end of Giovani Dos Santos’ right-side corner kick. Jorge Enriquez flicked the ball across the goal with a header from off the near post, and Fabian muscled his way through the goalmouth crowd to punch home the game-tying shot, also off a header.
Peralta snapped the 1-1 deadlock with an opportunistic recovery after netminder Shuichi Gonda easily collected his first shot, which came from the top edge of the penalty area. Gonda tried to distribute the ball to the unprepared Okihara, and Peralta seized the opportunity to force a turnover and float the ball rom the top of the arc into the net behind Gonda, who had not returned to his line.
Cotres, who entered the match for Javier Aquino in the 89th minute, put the finishing touch on the win in the third minute of stoppage time, dribbling into the box past defender Daisuke Suzuki and getting a shot past Hotaru and Gonda for the insurance tally.