Luke Fleurs of South Africa in action with Eduardo Aguirre of Mexico during their Olympic Group A game on Wedensday. Photo: Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters
Luke Fleurs of South Africa in action with Eduardo Aguirre of Mexico during their Olympic Group A game on Wedensday. Photo: Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters

South Africa Under-23 bomb out of Olympics after crushing defeat to Mexico

By Eshlin Vedan Time of article published Jul 28, 2021

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DURBAN – South Africa U-23 bowed out of the 2020 Olympic Games following a 3-0 defeat to Mexico in their final group stage game on Wednesday afternoon.

Mexico dominated the game from start to finish, scoring their goals through Alexis Vega and Luis Romo before Henry Martin completed the rout in the second half.

David Notoane’s side barely threatened Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa as they were frustrated by the organisation and precise passing of the North Americans.

ALSO READ: SA U23s need nothing less than victory against Mexico to keep Olympic dream alive

Vega opened the scoring in the 18th minute as Mexico made their dominance count. Uriel Antuna produced some good work from out wide to play in Vega who simply tapped the ball into the net.

Mexico’s second goal on the stroke of half-time was gifted to them as an attempted headed clearance from Teboho Mokoena ended up moving backwards and into the path of Romo who slotted beyond SA goalkeeper Ronwen Williams.

The South Africans seemed to be getting frustrated by their more organised and structured opponents, committing some poorly-timed and executed challenge in an attempt to win back possession.

ALSO READ: SA U-23 coach David Notoane blasts treatment of his players at the Olympics

Katlego Mahomme received a booking early in the first half for a poorly timed challenge. Things went from bad to worse for South Africa in the 56th minute when captain Repo Malepe was shown a red-card after a VAR check following a poor challenge on Henry Martin, a player who posed problems for the South African defence.

Initially shown a yellow card, Malepe was given his marching orders following the VAR check and he rightfully did not protest which indicated that he must have been aware of what was to follow.

Martin got onto the scoresheet himself in the 60th minute, blasting in a shot into the corner of the net which gave Williams no chance of saving.

ALSO READ: SA coach David Notoane fears Christian Eriksen repeat at Olympics

Just six minutes later, both sides were reduced to ten men after Mexico’s Carlos Rodriguez was given a straight red-card.

The only positive that Notoane’s side can take from the game is that they ended the game on a good note, dominating the dying minutes of the game.

However, this could be due to the fact that Mexico withdrew their best players towards the end in an attempt to keep them as fresh as possible ahead of the knockout stages of the competition.

Meanwhile, the result ensured that Mexico advanced to the knockout stages as group runners-up, with Japan progressing as group winners after routing France in their final game.

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