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SA hold Brazil despite sending off

2016-08-04 22:58
Neymar (Getty Images)

Cape Town - The South African Under-23 soccer side drew their opening match 0-0 at the Olympics, holding a powerful Brazil side at the Mane Garrincha Stadium.

The first half was an action-packed affair, with both sides creating a number of clear-cut chances to break the deadlock.

The first chance of the match fell to South Africa's Lebo Mothiba, who saw his goal-bound effort snapped up by Wéverton in the Brazil goal.

The hosts hit back with a response just two minutes later, Thiago Maia firing over the crossbar from outside the box.

After a brief lull in play, the match sprang to life again just before the half-hour mark. Goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune did well to deny Barcelona forward Neymar, before Rodrigo Caio headed high and wide from close range.
 
South Africa had two good chances of their own, though, as Mothiba somehow failed to convert from close range following Keagan Dolly's well taken corner-kick, while the latter fired wide of the right-hand post from range just four minutes later.

However, Brazil ended the first half on the front foot, with Felipe Anderson shooting wide of the mark on three separate occasions and Neymar seeing his long-range effort collected with relative ease by Khune.

And Khune would prove to be a pivotal figure after the half-time break, denying Brazil on more than one occasion to keep Amaglug-glug in the contest.

His sterling performance in goal proved crucial as South Africa were reduced to ten men on the hour mark after Mvala brought down Zeca with a clumsy challenge to pick up his second yellow card of the game.

Boasting an extra man on the pitch, a star-studded Brazil began to turn the screws in the final half-hour as they went in search of the opening goal.

Renato Augusto fired over the bar from outside the area, before Khune did well to get down low and keep out Zeca's goal-bound effort.

Brazil looked certain to break the deadlock in the 69th minute when Gabriel Jesus broke free of his marker on the right-hand side of the six-yard box, but his powerful shot struck the post, letting South Africa off the hook.

The home side continued to pile forward, with Neymar twice failing to hit the target and Gabriel again forcing the impressive Khune into action.

And, with time running out, Brazil had one last chance to snatch a late winner at the death when Luan made space for himself to let fly from outside the area. However, the resulting shot on goal lacked accuracy, flying way over the bar.

Teams

Brazil: 

Weverton, Zeca, Ciao, Santos, Marquinhos, Maia, Augusto, Anderson, Neymar, Gabigol, Gabriel Jesus

South Africa: 

Khune, Mekoa, Mobara, Coetzee, Mathoho, Mvala, Motupa, Dolly, Modiba, Masuku, Mothiba

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