Rafa Mir's substitute hat trick leads Spain's extra time win

Posted at 5:52 AM, Jul 31, 2021

Spain's super sub scores thrice in extra time win

Rafa Mir scored a hat trick off the bench as Spain needed extra time to beat Cote d'Ivoire in a 5-2 quarterfinal on Saturday in Japan.

Mikel Oyarzabal and Dani Olmo each had a goal and an assist for the victors, who were highly-favored but needed two equalizers to get to extra time.

Spain will meet the winner of Japan in the semifinal round. The Olympic hosts needed penalties to get past New Zealand.

Spain had 66 percent of the ball but Cote d'Ivoire was patient without the ball and effective with it in generating almost as many chances as its highly-favored opponents.

Max Gradel had a goal and an assist for Cote d'Ivoire, and Manchester United defender Eric Bailly also scored while giving away a VAR-awarded handball.

Cote d'Ivoire appeared to have eliminated pre-Olympics favorite Spain at the quarterfinal stage of the men's soccer tournament, but the African nation made a baffling error in stoppage time to give the Spaniards life.

Wolves forward Rafa Mir swept in a late failed Cote d'Ivoire clearance moments after Les Elephants captain Gradel snuck a deflected shot past Unai Simon as the match leapt to life in the final minutes to reach extra time.

It was the second equalizer for Spain, who canceled out Bailly's early goal when Dani Olmo scored at the half-hour mark.

Extra time smiled upon Spain when Video Assistant Referee caught a handball on Bailly and a penalty was awarded to the favorites. Mir would add his second just before the final whistle, assisted by Olmo.