France got the better of South Africa in a seven-goal thriller as Andre-Pierre Gignac's hat-trick inspired Les Bleus to a 4-3 victory at the Tokyo Olympics.

Having been thrashed 4-1 by Mexico in their opening game of Group A, France hit back to keep their chances of progression alive, though they had to do so the hard way in Saitama.

Indeed, South Africa led on three occasions during a remarkable second half, yet it was Les Bleus who took the points.

Liberato Cacace's stunner was not enough to propel New Zealand to victory against Honduras in Group B, while reigning champions Brazil could only draw 0-0 with the Ivory Coast and Spain overcame Australia thanks to Mikel Oyarzabal's late winner.

 

GIGNAC AND SAVANIER SETTLE THRILLER

France were on the wrong end of conceding four last time out, and though they still let three in this time around, Teji Savanier's stoppage-time goal saw them clinch victory.

It was 35-year-old Gignac who had previously dragged France level on three occasions – a close-range finish followed by a thumping header before the Tigres striker, the leading scorer in the competition, converted his second penalty of the tournament to cancel out Teboho Mokoena's glorious 81st-minute strike.

Luther Singh had missed a first-half penalty for South Africa, with Kobamelo Kodisang and Evidence Makgopa also getting on the scoresheet.

But Gignac's efforts set the stage for France to nose themselves ahead when Montpellier's experienced Savanier lashed home, sending South Africa out in the process.

France sit third in Group A, three points behind leaders Japan, who survived a late scare to beat Mexico 2-1.

ALL WHITES LET LEAD SLIP

Cacace's exceptional strike put New Zealand ahead after just 10 minutes in Kashima – the defender picking out the top-right corner with a first-time effort from 30 yards out.

Luis Palma restored parity in first-half stoppage time, yet Chris Wood carried on his scoring form to put New Zealand back in front just after the restart.

Yet substitutes proved the difference for Honduras. Juan Obregon netted with 12 minutes remaining, paving the way for Rigoberto Rivas to clinch the comeback victory.

Matters were much more simple for South Korea, as they cruised to a 4-0 triumph against Romania, meaning all four Group B teams are on four points heading into the final matchday.

 

OYARZABAL RECORDS LONG-AWAITED SPAIN WIN

Spain secured their first win at an Olympic Games since 2000 thanks to Oyarzabal's header against Australia, which came with nine minutes of normal time remaining.

The 24-year-old Real Sociedad winger – who played a pivotal role in Spain's run to the semi-finals at Euro 2020 – has put La Roja top of Group C heading into Wednesday's encounter with Argentina, who beat Egypt.

Spain, who drew with Egypt in their opener, won gold in 1992 and silver in 2000, but had only qualified once since then, but they failed to score across their three appearances in the 2012 London Games.

CHAMPIONS HELD AS GERMANY BOUNCE BACK

Brazil sparkled in their 4-2 win over Germany on matchday one, though they could not find a way past the Ivory Coast, who held them to a 0-0 draw in Group D.

Douglas Luiz was sent off early on for Brazil, who missed a last-gasp chance to seal qualification through substitute Malcom after the Ivory Coast had also been reduced to 10 men.

Meanwhile, Germany recovered from their defeat on matchday one to beat Saudi Arabia 3-2 – Felix Uduokhai netting the decisive goal in the 75th minute.

Ricardo Ferretti hailed his team as mighty Mexican outfit Tigres made history by powering through to the Club World Cup final.

Tigres became the first team from the CONCACAF region – covering North and Central America and the Caribbean – to reach the showpiece match of FIFA's top club tournament.

Andre-Pierre Gignac's penalty early in the second half gave Tigres the result their performance richly deserved, a 1-0 victory over Palmeiras.

The match-winning French striker had earlier been denied by two outstanding first-half saves by Palmeiras goalkeeper Weverton, who came up for a last-gasp corner and headed over a difficult chance to equalise.

The club from the city of San Nicolas de los Garza will face Bayern Munich or Al Ahly in Thursday's final, with the reigning European and African champions going head to head in Monday's second semi-final.

Ferretti said: "The victory gave us an opportunity to reach the final. We faced two great teams, and the next one will be also a great team, and we will face them in the same way.

"I feel calm and happy for the win and excited as everyone. I don't like celebrating before time, we still have to play a game, the most important one is the next one. Naturally we know how capable will be the team we will face.

"Now, we have to get ready, the players have to recover physically, but not emotionally because they feel good. We will get ready these days to reach the end goal."

Palmeiras head coach Abel Ferreira complained that the penalty decision was "dubious", suggesting the tug by Luan on Carlos Gonzalez was not sufficient to justify a spot-kick.

He said: "It was not a clear grab although it existed, but this is not basketball, they won a penalty and from there they defended themselves.

"We had some chances but we couldn't get it right and I have to say without problems that they were slightly superior and the game is solved with a detail by the experience of a great player.

"We know we could do better individually. We came here on our own merit, we have a good mix of young and experienced people. But today we have to apologise to our people and assume that our rival was slightly superior in general and, I repeat, the game is resolved by a dubious penalty."

Andre-Pierre Gignac fired Tigres through to the Club World Cup final as his penalty secured a 1-0 win over South American champions Palmeiras.

The 35-year-old former Marseille striker was hugely impressive in a thrilling game, and his reward came from the spot in the 54th minute, with Mexican giants Tigres full value for their victory.

It means the CONCACAF Champions League winners will face face Al Ahly or Bayern Munich in the final on Thursday.

Tigres were overwhelmingly the dominant side in the first half at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, with Copa Libertadores winners Palmeiras kept in the game thanks to three terrific saves from goalkeeper Weverton.

The Brazil international denied Carlos Gonzalez inside the first five minutes by repelling the Paraguayan striker's meaty header.

Weverton then denied Gignac twice in four minutes, first pushing the ball wide for a corner in the 34th minute when the Frenchman looked to bend a shot inside the far right post from a tight angle. A better stop followed as the eye-catching Gignac had a fine header clawed away from the bottom right corner.

Gonzalez had his shirt tugged by Luan for the decisive penalty incident, with Gignac driving his kick into the bottom left corner.

Palmeiras pushed for an equaliser but had at least five men offside from a free-kick before putting the ball in the net, and then Tigres' Luis Rodriguez almost scored in the wrong goal from a low cross, the ball trickling six inches wide. Matias Vina had a shot deflect narrowly wide deep into stoppage time before Weverton, sent up for a corner, headed over from the last big chance.

Qatar Stars League champions Al Duhail earlier secured fifth place by beating K League 1 side Ulsan Hyundai 3-1 in their play-off.

At the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, Edmilson Junior gave Al Duhail a 21st-minute lead when he drove through midfield and swept a 25-yard shot into the bottom right corner, only for Yoon Bit-garam to level in the 62nd minute.

Mohammed Muntari restored Al Duhail's lead four minutes later with a volley from Dudu's sublime assist, a scooped ball over the defence, and Almoez Ali cracked in the third eight minutes from the end.

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