Mohamed Salah's Egypt crash out of AFCON at last-16 stage

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South Africa stunned hosts Egypt 1-0 to reach the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations.

Seven-time winners Egypt produced a lacklustre display and were punished by Thembinkosi Lorch’s 85th-minute strike.

South Africa, the 1996 winners, are through to just their second quarter-final since 2002 and will face Nigeria on Wednesday.

Egypt struggled to create chances, with their best two openings of the game both being squandered by Trezeguet, while Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah was largely kept quiet.

South Africa were the more dangerous team in the first half and Percy Tau was denied a 22nd-minute opener when his free-kick was tipped over the crossbar by Mohamed El-Shenawy.

The Bafana Bafana also went close with 20 minutes to go when centre-back Thulani Hlatshwayo headed wide but they were not to be denied.

South Africa broke quickly and Lebo Mothiba drew the last defender before squaring for Lorch to confidently sweep beyond El-Shenawy.

Egypt could not muster a response as they failed to reach at least the semi-finals at a home tournament for the first time.

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Argentina claim Copa America bronze despite Lionel Messi’s dismissal

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Lionel Messi was controversially sent off as Argentina beat Chile 2-1 to win the Copa America third-place play-off in Sao Paulo.

The Barcelona midfielder was shown a straight red card towards the end of the first half following a confrontation with former Cardiff midfielder Gary Medel, who was also dismissed.

Messi, though, appeared to have been hard done by, with Chile defender Medel appearing to push his head towards the Argentina playmaker as they squared up, chest to chest.

Argentina, beaten by hosts Brazil in the semi-final, had taken an early lead through Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero.

Chile – whose semi-final defeat by Peru ended hopes of a third straight Copa America title – saw Manchester United forward Alexis Sanchez forced off with a suspected hamstring problem before Paulo Dybala made it 2-0 after 22 minutes

After Messi and Medel were dismissed by Paraguay referee Mario De Vivar, who had consulted a video replay of the incident, Arturo Vidal’s penalty pulled a goal back from Chile on the hour, with the VAR again called into action.

Aguero squandered a couple of late chances to put the result beyond doubt, but Argentina saw out the closing stages to secure third place as their trophy drought goes on.

Messi had made an early impact when his quick ball forwards from a free-kick just inside his own half put Aguero racing clear and the Manchester City striker went around the goalkeeper and opened the scoring in the 13th minute.

Chile were then forced into a change when Sanchez limped off and Junior Fernandes came on.

Argentina doubled their lead in the 22nd minute. Juventus forward Dybala was played into the left side of the Chile penalty area and clipped an angled shot into the far corner.

Dybala sent another volley just wide before tempers boiled over as half-time approached when Medel and Messi squared up after chasing a ball going out on the touchline.

Argentina remained a threat on the counter at the start of the second half, but Chile were given a way back into the match.

Play was called back as the referee looked at a potential foul by Argentina’s Giovani Lo Celso on Charles Aranguiz on the edge of the penalty area and eventually pointed to the spot.

Despite the delay, Barcelona midfielder Vidal remained calm, drilling the penalty straight down the middle as Argentina goalkeeper Franco Armani dived away.

Fernandes and fellow substitute Diego Vargas both tested Armani before Argentina slowly regained control, with Aguero having a couple of late chances to score again.

In stoppage time, the Chile bench were all up claiming for handball, but this time there was no extensive VAR review as the appeals were swiftly waved away.

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Casemiro backs Brazil coach Tite ahead of Copa America final

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Brazil midfielder Casemiro has given his backing to national team coach Tite ahead of Sunday’s Copa America final on home soil.

Speculation in local media following the semi-final victory over arch-rivals Argentina in the week suggested the 58-year-old would not be continuing in his role after the end of the tournament.

That led to the unusual step of the Brazil football Confederation publicly confirming the coach would stay on.

“The Brazilian football Confederation expresses its confidence in the work of the coaching staff of the Brazilian national team and reaffirms that it will be maintained on a permanent basis,” said a statement.

Casemiro added his full support for the manager.

“He has won a lot of national and international titles, and he is a victor,” he told Brazilian journalists.

“He’s a coach who has been in the position for three years and has (won) more than 80 per cent.

“Tite is in our heads to be mentally strong, not to destabilise (us).

“He has a great success in this, to make the team concentrate and not to fall in the trap of the opponents, to let them provoke us, so people do not fall for it.”
Speaking ahead of the game, Tite said the side would prepare for every eventuality.

In quotes on Spanish outlet AS, he said: “We have to prepare ourselves for all the circumstances of the game. If we score a goal, we have to continue to play well.”

Brazil saw off Peru 5-0 in the group stage, but Tite said: “The teams come with different strengths and we know the difficulties we will have with Peru, (5-0) did not reflect what happened on the pitch.”

Brazil are favourites to win Sunday’s final, at the Maracana, but Peru’s Argentinian coach Ricardo Gareca has confidence in his side.

“When you make it to the final, you have to try to win it. There’s no other option,” he said.

“We reached the final thanks to our own merits. This group is very strong. I think that’s the key. It has the strength to overcome adversities.

“We have the players to do it. We are peaking right now. If I had to choose a time to make it to the final, it would be now.

“But we know that it will be difficult against Brazil no matter how we are playing.”

Veteran striker Paolo Guerrero, whose goal in Wednesday’s win made him the highest Copa America scorer (13) among players still currently active, is not worried about the fact few are giving his side a chance.

“You can call them favourites if you want to. But for us, there are no favourites on the field.

“We have to stay humble and do our job. There are a lot of people not showing respect for Peru right now. I have a lot of respect for Brazil, but I also respect my country.”

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