Team GB Stumble To Senegal Draw
London: Team GB opened their 2012 Olympics campaign by slipping from the lead to a 1-1 draw against Senegal.
Craig Bellamy gave the hosts a first-half lead but the African side came into the match in the second period and struck with less than 10 minutes remaining through Moussa Konate.
Great Britain coach Stuart Pearce made two changes from the side that lost 2-0 to Brazil, with Jack Butland replacing Jason Steele in goal and Steven Caulker coming in for James Tomkins, while Senegal included new West Ham signing Mohamed Diame.
Both sides failed to dominate the opening minutes of the game, with Team GB narrowly edging possession.
The opening goal of the game arrived in the 20th minute when the Senegalese defence failed to clear a wide free kick whipped in from Ryan Giggs. Abdoulaye Ba`s weak header landed at the feet of Bellamy, who steadied himself before hitting a calm volleyed finish into the back of the net.
The visitors were gifted a fantastic chance to equalise shortly afterwards when Butland`s poor clearance could only pick out Sadio Mane. However, the Metz midfielder chipped narrowly wide with the Birmingham City stopper bearing down on him.
This seemed to spark Senegal into action and Mane had another presentable opportunity to score just minutes later but saw his effort blocked by Micah Richards` desperate lunge. This turned out to be the last real chance of the half and Pearce`s side went in holding onto their narrow lead.
The visitors started the second half the brighter and again came close to levelling the game. Ibrahima Balde did well to find space before forcing Butland into a smart save.
Team GB continued to ride their luck and again had Butland to thank as he dived well to palm a fierce Saliou Ciss effort behind. From the resulting corner, Danny Rose jumped high to head another Balde effort off the line.
The match quickly became a tempestuous affair and threatened to boil over with 20 minutes remaining when Bellamy went down just inside the area under a lunging tackle from Ciss. However, the Liverpool manís appeals for a spot-kick went unanswered, to the dismay and anger of his team-mates.
With fewer than 10 minutes remaining, Konate latched onto a superb through-ball from out wide to chip the ball over the onrushing Butland and give his side a deserved equaliser.
Team GB came close to regaining their lead late on when second-half substitute Aaron Ramsey picked out Marvin Sordell in the middle of the area but the Bolton man rattled the crossbar with a left-footed shot.
Next up for Team GB is a match against UAE at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, while Senegal face group leaders Uruguay, who beat the Emirati team 2-1 earlier on Thursday.