NIGERIA’S men’s Olympic football team has qualified for quarter final of the tournament after beating Sweden 1-0 yesterday at the Amazonia Arena in Manaus giving the Eagles six points from their first two matches.
On Thursday, the squad, known as Dream Team VI beat Japan 5-4 in its opening games and following yesterday’s victory now tops Group B. Yesterday, the Dream Team soared to the top of the table with its second successive victory thanks to a diving header from Sadiq Umar in the 40th minute.
Right from the kick off, the Eagles were in charge of proceedings for the greater part of the encounter. Fresh from scoring four goals last time out against Japan, Oghenekaro Etebo attempted several shots in the half, with his right foot, left foot and with his head but he was unable to get the better of Swedish goalkeeper Andreas Linde.
Nigeria eventually found the opener six minutes from half time, when Stanley Amuzie delivered a pinpoint, curling cross in open play from the left wing that found Umar and the Roma man made no mistake, scoring with a diving header. The Dream Team continued their dominance in the second half and just three minutes in, captain Mikel Obi took had a well-driven shot from the top of the area saved by Linde.
Later, the Swedish goalkeeper had to be alert four minutes afterwards when Etebo dribbled inside the corner of the penalty box and attempted a curling effort, but once again, Linde saved. Coach Hakan Ericson did use all three of his substitutes Ken Sema, Muamer Tankovic and Jacob Une Larsson to try and give his team a new dimension but in the end, Nigeria’s backline was up to the challenge and held on to all three points.
On Wednesday, Nigeria will close out group play against Colombia in Sao Paulo, while Sweden have a must-win match ahead against Japan in Salvador if they are going to continue their Rio 2016 journey. Nigeria now has six points and is in a great position to advance to the quarterfinals, while Sweden has just one point.