The penultimate game of the wheelchair basketball at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games saw World Champions Australia take on the host nation Brazil for fifth place.

A thrilling first quarter saw Australia come out firing as they raced to an 11-5 lead; spurred on by the electric home support, Brazil, however, hit back to within two (9-11) before Australia regained control to close out the first quarter by 20-17.

The second quarter saw the battle continue as Brazil not only levelled the game but pushed ahead by 30-28; nevertheless, at half time it was Australia who held the upper hand, having played their way back to a 39-37 advantage.

Brazil levelled the game at the start of the third, but Australia then found another level of play to go up 47-41. With the home support behind them, however, Brazil rallied together once more and, by the end of the quarter, had played their way into the lead by 54-52.

The final quarter was a nailbiting end to end affair with neither team able to earn more than a three point advantage; with 68 seconds on the clock, Australia moved ahead by 69-66, but – showing incredible composure – Brazil responded with a fantastic basket from Paulo Cesar Dos Santos, followed by 2/2 from the line from Marcos Candido Sanchez to earn a hard-fought 70-69 victory and fifth place.

Australia Head Coach Ben Ettridge said: “For us it’s not a change of the guard, but we have seven guys who are first time Paralympians or this is there second one – it puts us in really good stead for the future. If anything this tournament and result just resolves the group: they want to make things right, they want to be back. They’re a great bunch of boys and great support staff and everyone knows where we’re heading, it’s just a really tough one for us – we just couldn’t put 40 minutes of basketball together in this one. For us now, we’ve got to look at how many games we’re playing internationally now and maybe 10 or 15 a year isn’t enough, we’ve got to get out there and, like a lot of other teams, play 40 or 50 games a year.”

Brazil Head Coach Tiago Jose Frank said: “Australia for us is a top world class team and we began preparing for the Games with a game against Australia. This cycle was initiated with this game against Australia and then we call this game as “the dance” because it was necessary for all our athletes to step up and bring their best games.”

Brazil’s top scorer with 24 points, Leandro de Miranda said: “I’m very happy – it’s very good to be here. We got fifth place – so we’re the fifth best team in the world, so we’re feeling very good! We’ve really improved as a team and we’re really happy about that – we hope to get better each year and do even better at the next Paralympics.

“The crowd was like a sixth player for us – they really helped us.”

For full match statistics click here