South Africa U23 team exit Rio Olympics
South Africa bowed out of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games after playing to a 1-1 stalemate with Iraq at the Arena Corinthians in São Paulo on Thursday.
Iraq and South Africa were eliminated from the global competition after finishing third and fourth respectively on Group A standings.
It took only five minutes for Gift Motupa to fire South Africa into the lead with a good finish after receiving a cross inside the Iraq box.
But South Africa were punished for some poor making in the 14th minute as an unmarked Saad Luaibi headed home to restore parity.
In the 20th minute, Phumlani Ntshangase rattled the side-netting with an effort from outside the box as South Africa looked to restore their lead.
Ali Hisny found some space outside the South African box eight minutes later and the Iraqi midfielder placed his attempt wide of the target.
South Africa goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune came to his side's rescue when he parried a shot from point-blank range onto the crossbar in the 37th minute.
But the Africans managed to contain the Asians until the match Referee Roddy Zambrano from Ecuador blew the half-time whistle.
Iraq hit the woodwork for a third time nine minutes after the restart as they continued to dominate the group encounter.
South Africa head coach Owen Da Gama responded by pulling out Menzi Masuku and introducing Thabiso Kutumela in the 58th minute.
Iraq substitute Sherko Kareem wasted a great chance at the back post ten minutes later firing over the crossbar from inside the South African box.
With eight minutes left, South Africa suffered a blow after their captain and talisman Keagan Dolly was stretchered off and was replaced by Tashreeq Morris.
The last chance of the game went to Kutumela who fired a low shot narrowly wide of the target in stoppage time and the referee blew the final whistle.