Teji Savanier was the last-gasp match winner as France staged a remarkable comeback to beat South Africa 4-3 in the Olympic football group stages.
After a goalless first half, Kobamelo Kodisang’s goal put South Africa in front in the 53rd minute. Andre-Pierre Gignac, aged 35, levelled up with his first goal of the match four minutes later.
Evidence Makgopa put South Africa back in front but Gignac again equalised with 12 minutes remaining. Teboho Mokoena then put South Africa ahead for a third time in the 81st minute before Gignac converted from the penalty spot in the 86th to set the stage for Savanier’s late blast.
South Africa lost to hosts Japan 1-0 to open Group A on Thursday in their first group match, while France were routed by Mexico 4-1 in their opener.
Playing with 10 men for most of the game, Brazil held the Ivory Coast to a 0-0 draw in Group D.
The defending Olympic champions were at an early disadvantage early when Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz was sent off in the 13th minute.
Elsewhere, Honduras picked up their first win of the tournament as Rigoberto Rigas’ 87th-minute winner earned them victory over New Zealand in Group B, while Lens defender Facundo Medina was the matchwinner for Argentina, scoring the only goal in their 1-0 win over Egypt in Group C.
“This victory is very good for us, especially in terms of spirits,” said Argentine coach Fernando Batista. “We knew it was going to be a difficult match. Egypt had not lost for a long time. Now we have to rest and prepare for the best way to define the group against Spain.”
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