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Spain, Brazil advance to men's soccer Olympic gold medal match

Real Madrid's Marco Asensio (R) scored in the 115th minute to lead Spain to a 1-0 win over Japan in a 2020 Summer Games men's soccer semifinal Tuesday in Rifu, Japan. Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/EPA-EFE
Real Madrid's Marco Asensio (R) scored in the 115th minute to lead Spain to a 1-0 win over Japan in a 2020 Summer Games men's soccer semifinal Tuesday in Rifu, Japan. Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/EPA-EFE

Aug. 3 (UPI) -- Marco Asensio scored in the 115th minute of extra time to help Spain beat Japan and clinch a spot in the men's soccer gold medal match Tuesday in Rifu, Japan. Brazil beat Mexico in penalties earlier Tuesday to make the Olympic final.

Spain and Japan played to a scoreless draw through regulation and the first period of extra time at Miyagi Stadium. Asensio entered the game as an 83rd minute substitute and provided the game winner in the second bonus period.

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The score prevented a penalty kick shootout and resulted in a 1-0 victory.

Spain right back Jesus Vallejo started the scoring sequence with a throw-in from the right flank. Striker Mikel Oyarzabal received the feed just outside the Japan box. Oyarzabal dribbled around defenders and slipped a pass into the box for Asensio.

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The Real Madrid midfielder trapped the ball and took a tap to his left. He then bent a left-footed shot just inside the far post to beat Japan goalie Kosei Tani. The ball curved around Tani's right hand as he attempted a diving save.

Spain held onto the narrow lead for the final nine minutes to advance to its first gold medal game since 2000. Spain last won the Olympic gold medal in men's soccer at the 1992 Summer Games.

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Brazil, the defending Olympic champions, needed extra time and a penalty shootout against Mexico to clinch its spot in the gold medal game. The Brazilians held a 67% advantage in possession and outshot Mexico, but failed to beat goalie Guillermo Ochoa.

The scoring drought continued through two, 15-minute periods of extra time.

Veteran right back Dani Alves converted Brazil's attempt of the penalty session with a shot into the bottom left corner.

Brazil keeper Santos saved striker Eduardo Aguirre's first attempt for Mexico. Winger Gabriel Martinelli followed with another successful attempt for Brazil. Mexico defender Johan Vasquez hit the post on the next attempt.

Midfielder Bruno Guimaraes converted Brazil's third attempt for a 3-0 advantage in the shootout. Midfielder Carlos Rodriguez made the next shot for Mexico. Brazil's Reinier followed with a right-footed shot into the bottom right corner to seal the victory.

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Spain battles Brazil in the gold medal match at 7:30 a.m. EDT Saturday on NBCSN. In addition to its gold from 2016, Brazil won silver at the 2012 Summer Games and bronze at the 2008 Summer Games.

Mexico faces Japan in the men's bronze medal match at 7 a.m. EDT Friday on NBCSN.

Sweden takes on Canada in the women's gold medal match at 10 p.m. EDT Thursday on USA. The U.S. women battle Australia in a bronze medal match at 4 a.m. EDT Thursday on USA.

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The United States' Kelley O'Hara consoles Carli Lloyd as she buries her face in her hands after Canada defeated Team USA in the soccer semifinal match on August 2. Canada defeated the United States 1-0 on a penalty kick. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo

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