Brazil seals fifth consecutive Paralympic football title with win over arch-rivals Argentina

Raimundo Mendes, who won gold with Brazil at London 2012 and Rio 2016, scores the only goal of the match.

Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games - Football 5-A-Side - Men's Gold Medal Match - Argentina v Brazil - Aomi Urban Sports Park, Tokyo, Japan - September 4, 2021. Federico Accardi of Argentina and Froilan Padilla of Argentina in action with Raimundo Mendes of Brazil REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo
Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games - Football 5-A-Side - Men's Gold Medal Match - Argentina v Brazil - Aomi Urban Sports Park, Tokyo, Japan - September 4, 2021. Federico Accardi of Argentina and Froilan Padilla of Argentina in action with Raimundo Mendes of Brazil REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

TOKYO - Brazil defeated arch-rivals Argentina 1-0 to maintain their perfect record in the Paralympic football 5-a-side event as they won their fifth consecutive title at Aomi Urban Sports Park on Saturday.

Paralympic football is a 5-a-side competition and is an adaptation of football for athletes with visual impairments including blindness. The sport is governed by the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) and is played with modified FIFA rules.

The mouthwatering final captured the attention of the media and football fans around the world as it pitted two of the titans of the game against each other in a gripping final and a repeat of the game’s inaugural Paralympic final in 2004 which Brazil won 3-2 on penalties.

Five-time men’s FIFA World Cup winners Brazil showed some sublime touches and retained all of their trademark samba skills in a fascinating gold medal match which was decided by a sumptuous second half strike from striker Raimundo Mendes.

Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games - Football 5-A-Side - Men's Gold Medal Match - Argentina v Brazil - Aomi Urban Sports Park, Tokyo, Japan - September 4, 2021. Raimundo Mendes of Brazil celebrates after scoring their first goal with teammates REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo
Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games - Football 5-A-Side - Men's Gold Medal Match - Argentina v Brazil - Aomi Urban Sports Park, Tokyo, Japan - September 4, 2021. Raimundo Mendes of Brazil celebrates after scoring their first goal with teammates REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

The 34-year-old, who was also part of his country’s gold medal winning team at London 2012 and Rio 2016, was born with retinitis pigmentosa began playing football as a child in his native Oroco before taking up para football 5-a-side at age 23 in Petrolina, Brazil.

Mendes was first capped by his country in 2011 and celebrated his third Paralympic gold medal in style in Tokyo as he picked up the ball in the center circle and went on a weaving run dribbling past four players before firing home with an unstoppable left-footed thunderbolt from the edge of the area.

Morocco thrashed China 4-0 to win bronze to mark the first time an African nation has medaled in the sport on the Paralympic stage.

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