RIO DE JANEIRO: Portugal returned to Olympic football after a 12-year absence with a 2-0 win over past double champions Argentina at the Olympic Stadium in men’s Group C.
Goncalo Paciencia struck the opener before substitute Pite’s effort from distance was mishandled by keeper Geronimo Rulli.
Bruno Fernandes was one of the busier players on the pitch, right from the first whistle. In the opening seconds, the Portuguese No10 had the ball in the net but the ‘goal’ was ruled out for offside.
After an otherwise quiet first half the game sprung into action in the opening moments of the second, when Jonathan Calleri was set free by Jose Luis Gomez.
The new West Ham United forward dinked the ball over the onrushing Bruno Varela but his shot hit the bar. When Argentina did find the net it was the turn of Mauricio Martinez to be judged offside.
Moments later, Portugal went ahead after a left-wing move climaxed by a low left-footed shot from Pacienca.
Rulli saved Argentina with sharp stops from Bruno Fernandes and Salvador Agra but his misjudgment of Pite’s shot proved crucial.
Portugal return to the Olympic Stadium against Honduras on Sunday before Argentina try to recover lost ground against Algeria.
Honduras hang on
** Honduras began their campaign in positive fashion with a slim 3-2 victory over Algeria in the Olympic Stadium. Romell Quioto and Marcelo Pereira put Los Catrachos in control before half-time. Sofiane Bendebka gave the African side hope before Antony Lozano’s third for Honduras.
Baghdad Bounedjah scored a second for Algeria to set up a nervy finish for Jorge Luis Pinto.
Bounedjah had the first clear-cut chance of the game, darting past a couple of Honduran challenges before being foiled by Honduras keeper Luis Lopez.
The Algerians paid for that miss when Honduras went straight up the other end and opened the scoring. Lozano was put clean through and Quioto pounced when the No9’s shot was blocked.
Matters went from bad to worse for Pierre-Andre Schurmann’s Algerians when they lost captain Ryad Keniche to injury before Los Catrachos doubled their advantage.
A Honduran corner was only half-cleared and, after the ball was returned into the goal area, Marcelo Pereira over Farid Chaal and in off the underside of the bar.
Algeria appled more pressure of their own after the break and hit back when the impressive Bounedjah headed across goal for Bendebka to head in.
Lozano responded by effectively securing the three points after Algeria keeper Chaal dropped a simple cross at his feet.
Algeria refused to concede. Bounedjah struck their second goal but Oussama Darfalou then headed over from close range.