(SATSports) – Africa will have two representatives in the quarterfinals of the men’s Olympic football tournament after Egypt defeated Australia in Rifu to book their place alongside Côte d’Ivoire.
Ahmed Rayan and Ammar Hamdy scored in each half for a 2-0 victory that saw Egypt finish second in Group C level on four points with two-time winners Argentina who drew 1-1 with group leaders Spain.
The Pharaohs, however, advanced because of their superior goal difference (+1 compared to Argentina’s -1) and will now face defending champions Brazil in the quarterfinals on Saturday.
Egypt (15) has qualified for the men’s football tournament more times than any other African nation and, should they defeat Brazil, will have a chance to at least equal their previous best performances: two fourth-placed finishes in 1928 and 1964.
Côte d’Ivoire, who advanced at the expense of Rio 2016 runners-up Germany, will play Spain in the first quarterfinal, also on Saturday.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s campaign ended in disaster with a 3-0 defeat to Mexico meaning they exited the tournament without winning a single game.
Alexis Vega and Luis Romo netted in the first half as Mexico led 2-0 at the break. South Africa’s task was made even harder as Tercious Malepe was sent off 11 minutes into the second half and Henry Martin added a third just three minutes later. Mexico also finished the game with 10 men as Carlos Rodriguez was also sent off midway through the half.
South Africa’s preparations for the Games had been marred by withdrawals due to medical reasons and COVID-19.