France prevails 4-3 over South Africa thanks to a late strike from Teji Savanier.
T. Savanier Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
France defeated South Africa 4-3 in the group stage of the men’s Olympic soccer tournament on Sunday thanks to a game-winning goal from Teji Savanier in stoppage time and three goals from Andre-Pierre Gignac.
In the 53rd minute, after a scoreless first half, Kobamelo Kodisang scored for South Africa. About four minutes later, Gignac scored his first goal to equalise the score.
South Africa regained the lead thanks to Evidence Makgopa, but Cignac equalised once more in the 78th minute. After South Africa’s Teboho Mokoena scored in the 81st minute, Cignac scored a penalty kick goal in the 86th minute to set up Savanier’s dramatic late goal.
Luther Singh, a striker for South Africa, took a penalty kick in the 40th minute, but his shot went just wide of the post.
South Africa’s first Group A match was a loss to host Japan, 1-0. France, the 1984 Olympic gold medal winners, were blown out by Mexico, 4-1. Gignac scored for Les Bleus as well in that match.
Teji Savanier (France), central midfielder (age 29);
Savanier stands out since he is the only athlete on this list who contributes to an over-age quota; nonetheless, it may be argued that it is players like him for whom Olympic participation is most meaningful.
Savanier is a centre midfielder with remarkable skill on the ball, but he has never even played for France’s minor teams, let alone the senior side, and only made his top-flight debut in 2018.
Only three players (with more than 150 attempts) in Ligue 1 since July 2018 have a greater success rate than his 58.4% on 279 dribbles.
In that span of time, Neymar has a 52.5 percent completion percentage. Savanier will give France a dangerous option from set pieces, as only Benjamin Bourigeaud (40) produced more chances from set pieces than the Montpellier star (37) in 2020-21.