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Football: Ivory Coast, Egypt advance to quarterfinals

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ALTHOUGH Nigeria did not qualify for football in the Olympics they can still cheer for their brothers. Ivory Coast and Egypt both qualified for the quarter-finals of men’s football tournament, while South Africa crashed out on day six of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

  Ivory Coast qualified as runners up from Group D after a tough 1-1 draw against Germany, knocking the Europeans out of the tournament. AC Milan’s Franck Kessie and Manchester United’s Eric Bailly both featured for the Ivorians in the encounter at the Miyagi Stadium in Tokyo.

  The Ivorians opened the scoring when German right-back, Benjamin Henrichs deflected the ball into his own net in the 67th minute. Ivory Coast striker, Youssouf Dao did well to put the German defence under pressure, forcing the defender into an error.

  In the 73rd minute, a brilliant free kick from substitute, Eduard Lowen saw the Germans draw level. However, game finished 1-1 and the result was enough for the Ivorians to finish as runners up in the Group.

  Ivory Coast will now face Spain for a place in the semi-finals of the competition. Spain won the group after a 1-1 draw with Argentina.

  Meanwhile the Egyptians progressed to the quartfinals of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after a 2-0 win against Australia, finishing as Group C runners-up ahead of Argentina on goal difference. Both teams finished on four points to progress to the next round.

  Ahmed Rayan scored for Egypt from close range just before half time after he was set up by some great individual work from Ramadan Sobhi. The Egyptians made sure of the win five minutes from time as Ammar Hamdy scored following a fumble from the Australian goalkeeper, Tom Glover.

  Egypt will face gold medal holders Brazil, who won Group D ahead of the Ivorians, in their last eight match on Saturday.

  Bafana boys did not enjoy the spotlight with their African brothers, South Africa’s football team will want to forget as they suffered a 3-0 defeat against Mexico, ending its hopes of advancing beyond the football group stages at the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday.

  South Africa needed to win by two goals or more after their first two Group A matches against France and Japan ended in defeat.  Also, Japan needed to beat France in the other encounter for South Africa to qualify for a spot in the quarterfinal.

  First-half goals by Mexico’s Ernesto Vega (18th minute) and Luis Romo (45), as well as Henry Martin’s strike on the hour mark, condemned South Africa to end a woeful campaign. Mexico and Japan advanced from Group A to the quarter-finals.

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