BEIJING: Lionel Messi scored the first goal and set up the extra-time winner as defending champion Argentina beat The Netherlands 2-1 to advance to the Olympic football semifinals against Brazil.
Watched by Diego Maradona, Messi gave his side a 14th-minute lead with his second goal of the competition, but Otman Bakkal equalised for the Dutch in the 36th.
Messi then sent a through ball for Angel Di Maria to score in the 105th minute.
In a major upset, Moussa Dembele scored two of Belgium’s three goals after it was reduced to 10 men in the first-half, leading the Young Devils to a 3-2 victory over Italy.
Dembele’s winner in the 80th minute was far less controversial than his first. With Belgium trailing 1-0, Dembele headed a corner from Tom de Mul in the 24th that Luca Cigarini — standing beside the right post — appeared to clear off the line with his right foot but it was awarded.
The goals came after Thomas Vermalen’s 17th-minute sending off for running over Robert Acquafresca, a foul that led to the first of two penalties by Giuseppe Rossi and an early Italian lead.
Dembele put Belgium ahead with a left-footed shot from the top of the area, a strike that prompted Italy coach Pierluigi Casiraghi to replace goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano with reserve Andrea Consigli.
Rossi scored both goals for Italy from the penalty spot.
Striker Rafael Sobis and defender Marcelo scored a goal each in extra time to give Brazil a 2-0 win over 10-man Cameroon.
Despite playing a man up for most of the second-half, Brazil failed to break the scoreless draw until Sobis fired a right-footed shot from inside the area in the 101st minute. Marcelo then sealed victory in the 105th minute. — Agencies