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Argentina beats Spain 2-0 in Paralympic 5-a-side football opener
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09:08, September 08, 2008

Forward Silvio Velo scored twice to gift Argentina a 2-0 win over Spain in the Beijing Paralympic 5-a-side football opener at the Olympic Green Hockey Stadium on Sunday.

Only seven minutes into the first half, Velo opened the scoring for the Athens Paralympic runners-up, when his powerful volley beat goalkeeper Spanish goalkeeper Jose Manuel Gomez.

After dancing past several Spanish defenders, Velo sealed the win with his second goal.

"My goals were important because we won our first crucial match. We took a step forward and this is a great start if we want to get to the podium," said Velo, who is nicknamed "the blind Maradona".

Spain, the bronze medalists in Athens, squandered a golden scoring opportunity when Antonio Jesus Martin's penalty kick was saved by Argentine keeper Gonzalo Abbas Hachache only seven minutes to go.

Later in the second match, hosts China enjoyed a flying start, whitewashing Britain 3-0.

Chinese forward Wang Yafeng proved to be unstoppable for the British. The 18-year-old scored two of his team's three goals.

"I did not expect that I could score twice today. The spectators are very supportive. Now I am too excited to say anything to my parents," said Wang after the match.

In the third and the last match of the day, Brazil, the gold medal winner of Athens 2004, also eased past South Korea 3-0.

Six men's teams attended the Beijing Paralympic Football 5-a-side.

Each team must field four blind players and a sighted or visually impaired goalkeeper. Additionally, each team has a guide behind the opponent's goal to direct his teammates to shoot.

A Football-5-side match lasts 50 minutes. It is divided into two halves and has a 10-minute half-time break. No tie is allowed. In case of a draw, the winner is decided by penalty shootouts.

<i>Source: Xinhua</i>

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