SA U23s Fail To Progress To Olympic Quarters



Result: South Africa 1-1 Iraq


Date: 10 August 2016


Venue: Corinthians Arena


The South African U23 side failed to progress beyond the group stages, as they drew 1-1 with Iraq in their Olympic Games group tie.


After shaky start,  South Africa took the lead after five minutes as poor clearance fell to Gift Motupa, who slammed home from 12-yards out.


Iraq pushed for an equaliser and were rewarded in the 14th minute, as an un-marked Luaibi headed home at the near post after some poor marking from the South Africans.



South Africa were on the back foot from the onset and never seemed settled at any stage during the opening half.


Iraq continued to look for a go-ahead goal and they went agonisingly close close in the 40th minute when Adnan Ali rattled the upright with a fine volley.


South Africa were lucky to head into the break on level terms, as their backline and midfield struggled to contain the Iraq attack. While, their poor decision-making did not help their cause either.


Despite Iraq’s dominance, South Africa went close to restoring their lead in the 49th minute when Motupa was played through on goal, however the midfielder placed his effort well wide of the upright.


Iraq nearly went ahead in the 54th minute but woodwork kept them at bay, before Itumeleng Khune produced a fine save to deny Ahmed Kamil from close range.


Owen Da Gama opted for a double change on the hour mark, as he introduced Thabiso Kutumela and Aubrey Modiba.


Iraq should have taken the lead in the 69th minute, but Sherko Kareem somehow blazed over the crossbar from six-yards out.


With time running out, Da Gama introduced Tashreeq Morris for the in-effective Keagan Dolly in the 82nd minute as they searched for a winning goal.


However, Da Gama’s charges failed to carve out any clear-cut chances, as the score remained 1-1 at the full-time whistle.


Both nations miss out on a chance to qualify for the quarterfinals, as South Africa finish bottom of the group.


Here’s how they lined up:


South Africa: Khune; Mekoa; Mobara; Malepe; Coetzee; Mvala; Ntshangase; Keagan Dolly (c); Fikizolo; Masuku; Motupa 


Iraq: Hameed, Ibrahim, Adnan, Abdulraheem, Kamil, Hisny, Natiq, Ismael, Luaibi (C), Ali, Attwan



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