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Jesus' Brazil held by South Africa

WORKING HARD: Jesus during Brazil's Olympics opener against South Africa.

WORKING HARD: Jesus during Brazil's Olympics opener against South Africa.

City new-boy Gabriel Jesus played the full 90 minutes as Brazil began their Olympics campaign with a draw against 10-man South Africa.

Our new signing worked hard throughout but will be ultimately frustrated having missed the hosts’ best chance to win the match.

The Brazilians lined up in typical attacking fashion with Neymar and Gabriel Barbosa flanking Jesus and Lazio creative midfielder Felipe Anderson sitting behind.

However, it was South Africa who had the first major chance of the match as Lebo Mothiba ran through on goal but Brazil goalkeeper Weverton came out and smothered the chance.

After several pacey runs in behind from Brazil’s front three came to nothing, they decided to mix it up and Barcelona star Neymar cut inside from the left and fired a stinging shot that was tipped over by South African goalkeeper Khune.

Those two continued their battle minutes later, as Neymar took down a cross and fired from the edge of the box but Khune was equal to it.

Despite a lack of chances, Jesus’ work ethic and positioning on the shoulder of the last defender kept South Africa pinned inside their own half for much of the period.

South Africa started the second half in the ascendancy with the lively Keagan Dolly firing the ball across Brazil’s goal and just wide of the far post.

A potential turning point came on the hour mark as Mothobi Mvala picked up his second yellow card to reduce his side to 10 men. That forced South Africa to retreat towards their own goal and surrender space outside the box in which Brazil’s creative forces could ply their trade.

After several minutes of pressure, a miscued shot gave Jesus the opportunity to slide the ball home but the angle proved to be just too tight for the 19-year-old.

The Selecao spent the rest of the match passing and probing but were unable to find a way through the stubborn defence of South Africa.

Brazil will now be looking for their first win of the Olympics when they face Iraq on Monday.

Brazil XI: Wéverton; Zeca, Marquinhos, Rodrigo Caio, Santos; Thiago Maia, Renato Augusto; Gabriel Barbosa, Anderson, Neymar; Gabriel Jesus

South Africa XI: Khune, Mathoho, Mvala, Coetzee, Masuku, Dolly, Modiba, Mothiba, Mobara, Motupa, Mekoa

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