Soccer: Argentina thrashes Ivory Coast

Beijing, Aug 8: A late goal from Lautaro Acosta helped Argentina's men's soccer team to a 2-1 win over Ivory Coast at the 2008 Beijing Games on Thursday.

Sekou Cisse scored the lone goal for Ivory Coast in the 53rd minute, while Lionel Messi, who has been at the centre of a recent controversial decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, opened Argentina's scoring in the 43rd minute.

The CAS ruled Wednesday that Messi, along with Brazilians Diego and Rafinha, can be stopped from playing in the Olympics by their European clubs. Barcelona, the club team that owns the forward's rights, has decided to let Messi play on in Beijing despite the ruling.

"The best thing is for him is to enjoy (the Olympics), that he should play there,'' Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola said. "It's our obligation and it is what we are going to do so that he can enjoy the games and come back happy.''

With the win, Argentina moves atop Group A with three points. Australia and Serbia, which played to a 1-1 draw earlier on Thursday, are tied for second in the group with a single point.

The men's Olympic football tournament is for players 23 and under, with three exceptions for older players. The top two teams in each of the four groups advance to the quarter-finals.

Read more about: ivory coast olympic soccer
Story first published: Friday, August 8, 2008, 15:07 [IST]
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