South Africa U-23s lost 1-0 to Denmark in their second game in Group A – their first defeat at theRio 2016 men’s football event.
Denmark broke the deadlock in the 69th minute when substitute Robert Skov fired home a low effort from six-yards out.
The Danes should have been ahead just after three minutes, but Emil Larsen dragged his effort wide of the mark from inside the box.
The South Africans who were denied by the crossbar twice in the encounter carved out their first clear-cut opening in the seventh minute as Keagan Dolly and Gift Motupa combined, before the latter forced Jeppe Hojbjerg into a stunning one-hand save from 12-yards out.
Denmark squandered a golden chance to take the lead in the 21st minute when an un-marked Jens Jonsson headed over the crossbar from close range.
The clash started opening up after 25 minutes, as Gift Motupa struck the crossbar with the goal at his mercy, while Itumeleng Khune rushed off his line to deflect Larsen's close range strike out for a corner.
South Africa were left frustrated by the woodwork once again in the 39th minute, when Dolly unleashed a powerful strike from 30-yards out that crashed against frame of the goal.
As Owen Da Gama's charges pushed for an equaliser in the final stages they went close in the 88th minute when Dolly's right-footed strike sailed inches wide of the upright.
Denmark face host Brazil in their final group game on Wednesday.