10-man South Africa withstand Neymar’s Brazil

August 4, 2016

Home advantage, a multi-million dollar strike force and a man advantage for almost half the match could not help Brazil to a winning start as South Africa held the home side to a 0-0 draw in their opening match at the Rio Olympics.

Brazil, who have never won the Olympic gold, started with a highly rated front three of Neymar, new Manchester City signing Gabriel Jesus, and Gabriel Barbosa, the 19-year old Santos striker who is expected to head to Europe before the transfer window shuts.

But the little-known South Africans matched them until they had Mothobi Mvala sent off 10 minutes into the second half.

Neymar sums up Brazil's frustrations after they were held to a scoreless draw with South Africa in their Olympic opener 

The Barcelona forward captained his country but failed to get them off to a winning start in Brasilia

South Africa goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune helped keep Brazil at bay with an impressive performance

Neymar can't help but hide his disappointment during the game which ended with the draw being booed by home supporters


BRAZIL (4-3-3): Weverton; Zeca, Marquinhos, Caio, Douglas Santos (William 84); Felipe Anderson (Luan 60), Renato Augusto (Rafinha 67), Thiago Maia; Neymar, Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel

BOOKED: Thiago Maia 73, Marquinhos 90+3

SOUTH AFRICA (4-2-3-1): Khune; Mobara, Mathoho, Coetzee, Mekoa; Motupa, Mvala; Modiba (Ntshangase 70), Masuku (Morris 58), Dolly; Mothiba

BOOKED: Mvala 56, Mathoho 90

SENT OFF: Mvala 59

REFEREE: Antonio Mateu Lahoz

Brazil pinned the visitors down for the rest of the game but could not score.

‘That’s football,’ Barbosa told television cameras after the game. ‘Sometimes the ball doesn’t go in the net.’

Barcelona striker Neymar had two of Brazil’s best chances, forcing keeper Itumeleng Khune to make diving saves to thwart two rasping drives from outside the box.

Jesus smacked the ball off the post from two yards out when it looked easier to score in the second half and Barbosa should have done better when he scuffed a shot with only the keeper to beat.

But a big crowd in the National stadium in Brasilia went home unhappy after the second game of the day ended goalless. 

Jeers greeted the Brazil players as they left the field at the full time whistle. 

Brazil have put their failure to score against 10 men down to a bad day at the office. 

The hosts have vowed to work hard to improve before their next game against Iraq. 

Brazil's football squad line up before their first game of their home Olympics with South Africa on Thursday

Lebo Mothiba of South Africa clashes with Brazilian goalkeeper Weverton (right) during a tight first half in Brasilia 

Brazil’s fans find their voice during the first half as they cheer on their side on home soil for this summer’s Games

Barcelona star Neymar captained the Brazil side but couldn't find a way past the South African defence in the first half

‘Today we failed in the goalscoring category so we need to get better,’ said defender Marquinhos. ‘We tried, we had the character to keep plugging away, but unfortunately we just couldn’t score.’ 

Jesus’ miss in the second half – when it looked easier to score – was the best chance of the game with the player making no excuses for his glaring mistake.

‘I am disappointed I could not score, it was a mistake and that shouldn’t happen,’ he said. 

‘Now we need to focus on Sunday and not make mistakes.’

Gabriel Barbosa of Brazil (left) goes on the attack but finds South Africa's Deolin Mekoa blocking his path

All eyes were on Neymar at the national stadium but even the Barcelona man couldn’t work miracles on his own

Manchester City signing Gabriel Jesus, who has joined the Premier League side for £27million, sums up Brazil's frustration

Manchester City signing Gabriel Jesus, who has joined the Premier League side for £27million, sums up Brazil’s frustration

Keagan Dolly of South Africa (left) gets to the ball first ahead of Marquinhos during the men’s first round match

The new Manchester City striker argued the huge expectation of a partisan home crowd didn’t impact on their failure to score. 


Iraq 0-0 Denmark

Brazil 0-0 South Africa

‘We were not anxious, I think the opposite was the case,’ he added when asked if opening day nerves played a part in Brazil’s failure to grab all three points. ‘We were overconfident. That happens. It is football.’

Some fans in the 69,000 crowd booed the team as they left the field but Brazil coach Rogerio Micale said the reaction would serve to steel his young charges.

Brazil are one of the favourites for the gold medal in the men's football but didn't have it all their own way in their opener

Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz  looks on as he takes charge of the Group A  clash in Brasilia

Jesus, one of the hottest prospects in Brazil, will stay with Palmeiras until the end of December before joining City

Jesus looks for a way through the South African defence as Rivaldo Coetzee looks on during the Group A match

‘The support of the fans is very important to the team,’ Micale said. ‘We know it is difficult in any competition, but if we have the support of the fans it will make things easier and help our players.

‘But we need to be prepared for adverse circumstances. And it means we will be more focused in the future.’ 

Earlier on Thursday, Iraq and Denmark kicked the tournament off with a 0-0 draw in the same stadium.

The first goals in the competition came soon after in Rio, where Honduras beat Algeria 3-2 in an enthralling match. 

Feipe Anderson of Brazil leaps to control the ball against Mothobi Mvala, who was later sent off in the second half

Jesus wins a header at the Mane Garrincha stadium but the new City man struck a post with the best chance of the game 

The opening ceremony for the Rio Games takes place on Friday but the men’s soccer tournament began 24 hours earlier, a day after the women’s soccer teams began their quest for gold. 

Twelve women’s teams are in Brazil, along with 16 men’s sides.

The Olympic football competition is being played in host city Rio de Janeiro and six other cities. 

SOURCE: dailymail.co.uk

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