Stuart Pearce’s Team GB football team got off to a hesitant start in the Olympic football tournament. Playing a robust Senegal side at Old Trafford, the British team led through a Craig Bellamy goal, but conceded an equaliser with six minutes to go.
It was a frustrating draw for Team GB, who had a strong penalty claim turned down when Bellamy appeared to be fouled in the second-half. Captain Ryan Giggs was critical of the refereeing, believing that Senegal were allowed to get away with some reckless challenges.
"All you want is a bit of protection," Giggs said. "You don't want anyone to get sent off but there were a few naughty challenges in there." Joe Allen and Bellamy were withdrawn, and Giggs is unsure whether they will be fit for the next game against United Arab Emirates. "A few of our lads are probably struggling for Sunday now, which is disappointing when you have only 18 players to choose from. That's the most disappointing aspect.”
Pearce was unwilling to criticise the referee, but was frustrated at his team’s inability to capitalise on Bellamy’s goal. "The fact we got our noses in front and didn't nail the game – and if we had moved the ball quicker we might have done – is a frustration," he said. "There were a few nervous faces in the dressing room beforehand. There are big expectations on the host nation."
The Team GB women’s side had a better start to their Olympic campaign, beating New Zealand 1-0 in Cardiff.