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South Africa bow out of Olympics after third straight defeat

Alexis Vega celebrates his goal against South Africa

South Africa's journey at the Tokyo Olympics came to an end after suffering a 3-0 defeat to Mexico in their final Group A clash at Sapporo Dome on Wednesday afternoon.

Thendo Mukumela and Kamohelo Mahlatsi were named in the starting lineup for South Africa, while Nkosingiphile Ngcobo was named on the bench. 

South Africa got off to a good start and came close to breaking the deadlock but Evidence Makgopa blazed his effort over the target from a tight angle.

Alexis Vega managed to fire the Mexicans ahead in the 17th minute when he slotted the ball past Ronwen Williams to make it 1-0.

The South Africans pushed forward in the closing stages of the first half as they looked to level matters but were unable to trouble Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.

Mexico then doubled their lead just before the break after Luis Romo found the back of the net from close range after South African defender Luke Fleurs failed to clear his lines as the Mexicans went into the half time break with a 2-0 lead over South Africa.

South Africa were dealt a major blow early in the second half when captain Tercious Malepe was shown his marching orders after picking up a second yellow card in the game.

Mexico took advantage of being a man-up and grabbed their third goal on the hour mark when Henry Martín fired the ball past Williams in goal for South Africa.

David Notoane opted to make their first substitution a minute later when Kobamelo Kodisang came on to replace Frosler.

The Mexicans were also reduced to 10 men in the 65th minute when Carlos Alberto Rodríguez was shown a red card for his challenge on Luther Singh.

Notoane brought on more fresh legs in two minutes later as Macbeth Mahlangu came in for Mukulema before they brought on Ngcobo and Mosele for Makgopa and Cele in the 83rd minute.

South Africa pushed forward in the closing stages of the game but Mexico managed to hold on to their lead until the final whistle to snatch all three points in their final Group A encounter.