Substitute Skov claims valuable win for Denmark

A second-half winner from substitute Robert Skov gave Denmark a valuable 1-0 victory over South Africa in their second Group A match at the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament Rio 2016 on Sunday.

The 20-year-old appeared off the substitutes’ bench and scored the decisive goal for the Scandinavians after a closely-fought encounter in Brasilia.

A goalless first half was not short on quality chances from both sides at the Estadio Nacional with Denmark’s main threat proving to be their captain Lasse Vibe. His best opportunity to break the deadlock came in the 28th minute, but after taking a fine through ball from Jens Jonsson, Vibe’s shot was well saved by the face of South Africa goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune.

The South Africans also had their chances before the break, with Gift Motupa forcing a good early save from Denmark goalkeeper Jeppe Hojbjerg, before hitting the crossbar with a deflected effort in the 26th minute.

The best chance of the opening half fell to South Africa captain Keagan Dolly. His long-range piledriver saw a sprawling Hojbjerg gets his fingers to his ambitious strike, before the ball rattled off the crossbar and away to safety.

In the second half, Denmark coach Niels Frederiksen introduced Skov and Jacob Bruun Larsen to the action and the two substitutes made the desired impact in the 69th minute. Bruun Larsen made a penetrating run into the South Africa penalty box before cutting the ball back into the path of Skov, and his side-footed finish beat Khune to give Denmark the lead.

Bafana Bafana’s response came through Motupa, but Hojbjerg proved equal to his goal-bound efforts with the Danish shot-stopper denying him firstly from a free-kick, before diving to block away his 80th-minute strike. The last chance for the Africans to equalise fell to Dolly but his 88th-minute shot sliced wide of the target.

Denmark’s victory takes them to four points from two games played in Group A. South Africa have one point from their two matches played in the group.

On Wednesday, Denmark will conclude their group campaign when they face tournament hosts Brazil in Salvador. South Africa will travel to Sao Paulo for a final group match versus Iraq.