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Olympic Games (Men's)

Old Trafford (ATT 55,000) 26th July 2012 - Kick off 20:00 Ref: R Irmatov

Great Britain Great Britain vs Senegal Senegal

Great Britain 1

C Bellamy (20)

ft

Senegal 1

M Konate (82)

Stuttering start by Team GB

Bellamy effort not enough as Pearce's men are held by Senegal

Last Updated: 26/07/12 10:23pm

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Team GB were only able to take a point from their Olympic opener as they were held 1-1 by Senegal.

Craig Bellamy gave Stuart Pearce's side a first-half lead at Old Trafford, but they were pegged back late on by Moussa Konate.

With Olympic fever gripping the nation, Bellamy saw Team GB off to the perfect start with just 20 minutes on the clock.

A Ryan Giggs free-kick ended up at the feet of the Liverpool forward and he made no mistake with a crisp volley.

Jack Butland's goal led a charmed life at times as Senegal pressed for a leveller and he was finally beaten with eight minutes remaining when Konate raced clear and calmly dinked the ball into the back of the net.

Substitute Marvin Sordell rattled the woodwork for Team GB in the closing stages, but there was to be no dramatic winner for the hosts.

Packed

For all the doubters, who just could not get their head around the concept of a Great Britain team, even at a home Olympics, Old Trafford was still packed at kick-off.

There were even repeated chants of 'GB' rolling round the stands at regular intervals as the two sides engaged in some early sparring.

And when Bellamy became the first GB scorer at an Olympics since Northern Ireland's Patrick Hasty in 1960, there were genuine celebrations, both amongst the fans and, more importantly, the players, who have had three weeks to work together.

There was some justification for Pearce that all three overage players were involved.

First Ryan Giggs sent over a cross from the right, for which Micah Richards challenged.

It was Steven Caulker who got his head to it though, nodding it down for Bellamy, whose first-time finish flashed past Ousmane Mane and into the far corner.

Disappointing

Not that GB should have been in front for long.

After spending the early part of his summer gaining experience as England's number three keeper at Euro 2012, this was Butland's chance to shine.

The 19-year-old almost blew it though, directing a routine clearance straight to Sadio Mane, who chipped disappointingly wide with only Butland barring the way.

It would be fair to say Senegal like a tackle. And Ryan Bertrand was not the only GB player to get up gingerly rubbing part of the body - in his case an arm - after being clattered.

The introduction of Bolton's Sordell for Daniel Sturridge at half-time was a worry, although not as much as Ibrahima Ba's shot that required a smart low save from Butland to keep it out.

A day before the action starts in the capital, Lord Coe was present, as were Manchester City's Joe Hart, Nigel de Jong and Joleon Lescott.

Impressed

After signing plenty of autographs at half-time, that trio would doubtless have been impressed with Senegal.

Zargo Toure thundered a shot over before Saliou Ciss brought another decent save out of Butland and Rose cleared a powerful Abdoulaye Ba header off the line.

Joe Allen's exit after an hour was another cause for concern as he had already been down once, and then came another shocker as Ciss wiped Bellamy out on the edge of the area with a tackle that caught the striker around the knee.

Home players charged in to express their disgust, yet GB did not even receive a free-kick.

Bellamy was able to continue, although he was eventually replaced, to the kind of reception he has never experienced at Old Trafford before.

The uplifting atmosphere was punctured by Konate eight minutes from time as he delicately lifted the ball over an advancing Butland to deny GB their win.

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Matches

  • Olympic Games (Men's)

    Thu 26th Jul - Group D
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