Olympics match report France v South Africa 25 July 2021


France scored a late winner to snatch a 4-3 victory over South Africa in a high-scoring Olympic 2020 Group A encounter at Satamai Stadium on Sunday.

Luther Singh showed his quality with a quarter of an hour gone. He looked confident stepping up to the free-kick and struck the middle of the ball with his laces which caused the ball to swerve and dip towards Paul Bernardoni's top right-corner as the French goalkeeper tipped it onto his bar and out to safety.

And then South Africa were just a post away from taking the lead as a lovely ball around the back of the French defence from Luther Singh found Evidence Makgopa, whose first-time strike hit the woodwork and went behind for a corner.

The South Africans were looking full of verve and creativity and enjoyed a sustained period of pressure on the Europeans as Kobamelo Kodisang then threatened after cutting inside.

David Notoane's charges won a penalty five minutes before half-time when Kodisang was brought down inside the box. Singh stepped up but he got a little bit underneath the ball and his effort struck the top of the crossbar before going over.

Kodisang was looking South Africa's most dangerous attacking threat and in the 53rd minute, he pounced on miscommunication between the defender and goalkeeper to intercept and stroke the ball into an empty net.

Les Bleus hit back immediately when Randal Kolo Muani broke through the left side of the SA defence and squared the ball back into the box, who fired it first-time past gloveman Ronwen Williams.

South Africa went back in front in the 73rd minute and Makgopa got his deserved goal when Kodisang turned provider this time and played the ball to the near post for the Baroka FC striker to find the small gap between Bernardoni and his near post.

However, France were suddenly level again when Gignac grabbed his brace with a header from Alexis Beka Beka's dink from the byline on the right-hand side.

Teboho Mokoena scored what could be a contender for goal of the Olympics with a beautifully curled strike into the top left-hand corner to make it 3-2 to the South Africans soon afterwards.

But then Williams gave away a penalty when he brought down Enzo Le Fee in the box. Gignac made no mistake from the spot into the top left corner for his hat-trick and a share of the spoils in a thriller of a match.

And just when South Africa looked as if they would at least get a point, France scored two minutes into stoppage time when Gignac turned provider and squared to Savanier from the left, who struck the ball accurately on his left foot into the bottom left corner for a dramatic winner.

Confirmed line-ups:

South Africa: Williams, Fleurs, Malepe, Mohamme, Mokoena, Frosler, Ngcobo, Cele, Kodisang, Makgopa, Singh

Subs: Mpoto, Mukumela, Mabiliso, Mahlangu, Mosele, Mahlatsi, Monyane.