The West Africans twice had the lead but three extra time goals hand their European opponents the win and a spot in the semi-finals
Ivory Coast conceded three times in extra time to lose 5-2 against Spain to crash out of the quarter-finals of the Olympic Games in Tokyo on Saturday.
After Manchester United defender Eric Bailly gave the Ivorians the early lead, Dani Olmo hit back for Spain midway through the first half, but Max Gradel thought he’d scored the winner for the West Africans in added time, only for Rafa Mir to equalise and send the game to extra time.
Here, Mikel Oyarzabal’s penalty gave Spain the lead for the first time, before two more goals from Mir late on gave the European nation the victory and a berth in the semi-finals.
It was Ivory Coast who showed confidence and composure in the early exchanges and they managed to take the lead after just 10 minutes when Spain conceded a free kick in a dangerous area that was not cleared, and Gradel played in Bailly who managed to beat the keeper from close range.
The lead, however, lasted for just 20 minutes.
A swift counterattack from the Europeans ended with the ball at the feet of Juan Miranda who tried to score, and while the ball went to a defender, his backpass was intercepted by Olmo who scored the equalizer.
Spain thought they had scored their second with two minutes left to the half-time break, but after consulting VAR, the strike by Oyarzabal was scrapped off.
Olmo could have scored the second for his team in the 49th minute, but despite being in the penalty area, he skied his effort, much to the relief of the Ivory Coast team.
A blunder by the goalkeeper almost gifted Spain a second goal in the 55th minute – Mikel Merino was in a great position just outside the 18-yard area but his effort hit the crossbar with the goalkeeper well beaten.
In the 89th minute, goalkeeper Eliezer Ira Tape in the Ivorians’ goal pulled off a fantastic save to deny Spain, with Oyarzabal nearly putting his name on the scoresheet again.
The missed chance came back to haunt his team as Ivory Coast took the lead a minute later. Gradel was well fed in the danger zone and his fierce strike was just too much for Unai Simon in the Spain goal to deal with.
That goal seemed like it could be the winner, but a concentration lapse at the back allowed Spain to steal possession in the final minute of stoppage time, and Mir scored to send the game to extra time.
The first chance of extra time fell to Spain when Bailly handled the ball in the 98th minute and after a VAR consultation, Spain were awarded a penalty which Oyarzabal expertly converted.
The fourth goal for Spain came in the 117th minute, this time around it was Olmo who passed the ball to Mir to complete his brace.
He completed his hat-trick five minutes later, this time around scoring from a precise pass from Oyarzabal.