Rio 2016: Brazil 0-0 South Africa - Home nation disappointing during goalless draw

Neymar's Brazil played out a goalless draw with South Africa as they failed to find a spark during their opening game of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Rio 2016: Brazil 0-0 South Africa - Home nation disappointing during goalless draw
Neymar couldn't inspire Brazil to victory over South Africa (Photo: Getty Images)
Brazil
0 0
South Africa
Brazil: Weverton, Zeca, Rodrigo Caio, Marquinhos, Douglas Santos, Renato Augusto (Rafael, min. 67), Thiago Maia, Felipe Anderson (Luan, min. 60), Gabriel Barbosa, Gabriel Jesus, Neymar
South Africa: Khune, Mathoho, Coetzee, Modiba (Ntshangase, min. 70), Mobara, Masuku (Morris, min. 58), Motupa, Mekoa, Mvala, Dolly, Mothiba
REFEREE: Antonio Mateu Lahoz (SPA) Booked Mvala (min. 55), Thiago Maia (min. 73), Mathoho (min. 90) Sent Off Mvala (min. 59)
INCIDENTS: Men's football Group A match played between Brazil and South Africa at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Brazil failed to shine during their opening game of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as they were held to a goalless draw by 10-man South Africa at the Mane Garrincha Stadium.

The hosts dominated possession during a lacklustre first-half display, however, it was the visitors who had the better of the chances.

Gabriel Jesus struck the foot of the post on 69 minutes, but that was the closest the home nation came during the second period.

Rogerio Micale’s side move onto Sunday’s match with Iraq as they look to get their first win on the board at their home Olympics.

Opening half-hour very conservative

The home nation were the losing finalists back at London 2012, and they will be looking to go one better and win the competition with Barcelona’s Neymar leading the side once more.

However, it was their opponents who came close early on when Brazil were caught in possession on the halfway line.

After the ball made its way up to Lebo Mothiba, the forward was closed down well by debutant Weverton after some questionable defending along the way.

The hosts were contained and after a quiet opening half-hour, the game started to come to life.

Neymar was denied on several occasions (Photo: Celso Junior/ Getty Images)
Neymar was denied on several occasions (Photo: Celso Junior/ Getty Images)

Closing stages of half comes to life

Neymar’s fierce shot was tipped over the bar well by Itumeleng Khune before the Barcelona star’s free-kick was headed over by teammate Rodrigo Caio, who needed a glancing header rather than a clean connection.

Keagan Dolly failed to trouble Weverton, who was looking edgy during his first game for his country, in the Brazil goal, but the hosts closed out the half on top.

The host nation drove up to the other end and came within millimetres of breaking the deadlock when Felipe Anderson volleyed wide of the post.

Gabriel Barbosa’s skill four minutes later set up the chance of the half, as the forward eased past his marker and sent the ball down the flank to Jesus.

Gabriel Barbosa came close twice in succession after the break (Photo: Getty Images)
Gabriel Barbosa came close twice in succession after the break (Photo: Celso Junior/ Getty Images)

Brazil denied a breakthrough

The 19-year-old picked out Neymar, who touched the ball down and struck ferociously at goal, but Khune was on hand again to deny the Brazilian captain.

Quick passing around the edge of the area allowed Dolly to break into the area and shoot for the visitors, but Weverton pushed the effort wide of the post.

Barbosa curled at goal for Brazil moments later, but both that and Zeca’s drilled shot on 65 minutes was easily collected by the ‘keeper.

Felipe Anderson touches the ball down in the second half (Photo: Getty Images)
Felipe Anderson touches the ball down in the second half (Photo: Celso Junior/ Getty Images)

Jesus hits post with 20 minutes to go

It was testing times for South Africa, who were still level on 69 minutes, but just by the skin of their teeth.

Substitute Luan’s shot was wayward, but rolled into the path of Jesus, who hit the foot of the post with his effort while stretching at the back post.

And more frustration followed for Brazil with Neymar curling over and Barbosa going close twice in quick succession, with the latter of the attempt a brilliant acrobatic volley.

Neither side managed to create a clear-cut opening in the closing stages of the game and the host nation have begun their football tournament with a goalless draw.