10-man South Africa somehow holds Neymar, Brazil in incredible Olympic draw

Photo by Celso Junior/Getty Images

Breathlessly, Brazil fans waited for their dominant home side to find a way past 10-man South Africa in the opener for both teams at the Olympics.

They are still waiting.

South Africa held Brazil to a 0-0 score, even after Mothobi Mvala took a 60th minute red card to set the hosts up for a win that would ultimately evade them.

It’s a massive point for South Africa, as Iraq and Denmark also drew 0-0 to put the African nation in the driver’s seat for the second spot in the knockout rounds.

MORE: Highlights/match replay here

Despite an energetic start filled with possession, it was South Africa counter that almost led to the first goal. Lebo Mothiba lunged to get his shot off, which was muffled by Brazil goalkeeper Weverton.

Brazil found itself in control for most the first half, but would seemingly finish every clever build-up with a big cross. South Africa was prepared for this, and just cleared the ball out of the box in any direction.

Weverton was far busier than Brazil would’ve expected, as South Africa was well prepared to counter and the officials sometimes unprepared to whistle fouls.

Felipe Anderson belted a volley of a South Africa defender. Neymar saw a 20-yard flash tipped over the goal. Brazil was knocking, but couldn’t enter.

South Africa found some moments through the midfield after halftime, and Weverton was forced to collect a flying header on the goal line.

Mvala took his second yellow when he hockey hip-checked the rampant Zeca minutes after his first, yellow, and Brazil would set for a half-hour with a man advantage.

A left back for club, Zeca forced Itumeleng Khune into a palm-stinging save before an even better chance for Brazil. Luan flipped a creative pass far post to Gabriel Jesus, but the new Man City man couldn’t get around the ball to slap it into the open net.

Then Neymar curled a hard shot just over the far corner, but Brazil could not chase down the opening goal. It was the 73rd minute, and still scoreless.

Neymar worked a great give-and-go with Gabriel Barbosa, but “Gabigol” was stopped by a splayed leg save from Khune (having an earlier overhead kick chance go just over the bar).

The goalkeeper was stop Neymar after a twice-deflected shot grounded to his hands deep into stoppage.

Mo Farah likely to retire this year

Mo Farah

British track legend Mo Farah will likely retire by the end of this year.

“I’m not going to go to the Olympics, and I think 2023 will probably be my last year,” the 39-year-old Farah said, according to multiple British media reports.

Farah, who swept the 5000m and 10,000m golds at the Olympics in 2012 and 2016, was announced Tuesday as part of the field for the London Marathon on April 23.

Last May, Farah reportedly said he believed his career on the track was over, but not the roads.

London might not be his last marathon. Farah also said that if, toward the end of this year, he was capable of being picked to run for Britain again, he would “never turn that down,” according to Tuesday’s reports.

It’s not clear if Farah was referencing the world track and field championships, which include a marathon and are in Budapest in August. Or selection for the 2024 British Olympic marathon team.

The fastest British male marathoner last year ran 2:10:46, ranking outside the top 300 in the world. Farah broke 2:10 in all five marathons that he’s finished, but he hasn’t run one since October 2019 (aside from pacing the 2020 London Marathon).

Farah withdrew four days before the last London Marathon on Oct. 2, citing a right hip injury.

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah’s best London Marathon finish in four starts was third place in 2018.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

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Kendall Gretsch wins six gold medals at Para Nordic Ski Worlds

Kendall Gretsch

Kendall Gretsch, who won Paralympic titles at the last Summer and Winter Games, added another six gold medals at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Sweden last week.

Gretsch, 30, earned seven total medals in seven days between biathlon and cross-country skiing.

Gretsch won gold medals in three different sports across the last three Paralympics: biathlon and cross-country skiing in 2018 (two years after taking up the sports), triathlon in 2021 and biathlon in 2022.

She plans to shift her focus back to triathlon after this winter for 2024 Paris Games qualification.

Gretsch, born with spina bifida, was the 2014 USA Triathlon Female Para Triathlete of the Year. Though triathlon was added to the Paralympics for the 2016 Rio Games, her classification was not added until Tokyo.

Also at last week’s worlds, six-time Paralympian Aaron Pike earned his first Paralympic or world championships gold medal in his decade-plus career, winning a 12.5km biathlon event.

Oksana Masters, who won seven medals in seven events at last year’s Paralympics to break the career U.S. Winter Paralympics medals record, missed worlds due to hand surgery.

The U.S. also picked up five medals at last week’s World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Spain — three silvers for five-time Paralympian Laurie Stephens and two bronzes for 17-year-old Saylor O’Brien.

Stephens now has 18 career medals from world championships, plus seven at the Paralympics.

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