Wasteful South Africa out after Uruguay stalemate

Luther Singh, striker for the South Africa Under-20 team Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

South Africa wasted a number of chances as they played to a 0-0 draw with Uruguay in their final Group D match to exit the FIFA Under-20 World Cup with a whimper.

Defeats in their earlier matches to Japan and Italy meant South Africa needed victory to stand a chance of being one of the four best third-place finishers, and given the quality of their chances, they should have taken all three points.

Uruguay had their opportunities too in what was an entertaining fixture, and they advance as the pool winners ahead of Italy.

South Africa had their fair share of possession in the first half but all the best chances fell to the South Americans.

Unmarked Agustin Canobbio put a free header over the bar, while Nicolas Schiappacasse found himself in space on the edge of the box only to skew his shot wide. He then later had an excellent headed chance from a fine ball by Jose Luis Rodriguez that he put wide of the target.

Luther Singh almost put South Africa in front in the second half when his free-kick from the left touchline beat the Uruguay goalkeeper, but not the crossbar.

There was a carbon-copy repeat just a few minutes later, but this time Uruguay gloveman Santiago Mele pushed the ball over the bar.

South Africa had a huge chance to take the lead when Sibongakonke Mbatha out-paced the Uruguay defence, but with just Mele to beat, he lifted the ball over the keeper and wide.

Mbatha's shot from the edge of the box shortly afterwards took a deflection, but the stopper was able to save.

At the other end, Schiappacasse had sight of goal but put his effort over.

Later on, South Africa had an excellent chance to win the game when Singh's delightful ball to the far post was put wide by the wasteful Mbatha.