Dream Team VI of Nigeria progressed to the quarter final of the 2016 Rio Olympics Games thanks to a narrow 1-0 victory over Sweden in a Group B match at the Arena Amazonia on Monday morning.
Coach Samson Siasia kept faith with the starting XI against Japan for tonight’s game.
Late comer Umar Aminu had to start from the bench, while a defense which gave away four goals against Japan on Friday was also unchanged.
On opening day action, Sweden played out a 2-2 draw with Colombia and Nigeria edged Japan 5-4.
Lanky Sadiq Umar headed the ball into the net from Stanley Amuzie’s left footed cross past goalkeeper Andreas Linde.
Nigeria passed the ball with a lot of confidence in the opening exchanges of the keenly contested battle.
Umar was denied by the goalkeeper after he broke free, Oghenekaro Etebo followed up from the rebound but the goal didn’t arrive after nine minutes.
Despite dictating the pace of the game and pegging their opponents in their half, Siasia’s boys weren’t ruthless in their final delivery.
Mikael Ishak fired at goal from a long ball which exposed the Nigeria defence, but thankfully the effort does not trouble goalkeeper Emmanuel Daniel.
The rampaging Etebo drove at goal from inside the box, but a smart save by Andreas Linde denied him.
Linde once again frustrated Etebo with a finger tip save some minutes after.
Etebo asked questions again as his shot screamed across the face of goal. The 1996 champions piled more pressure and went in front in the 39th minute.
Lanky Umar headed the ball into the net from Stanley Amuzie’s left footed cross past goalkeeper Linde.
First stanza of the game ended 1-0 in favour of Nigeria.
Three minutes into the second half, Linde kept Sweden in the game with a superb save from Obi Mikel’s bullet.
The busy Linde was a delight to watch when he scuppered Etebo’s screamer with a finger-tip save.
Sweden committed bodies forward in search of an equalizing goal, but Nigeria still bossed the tie.
In the 71st minute, a low cross from the right flank by Etebo to Umar evaded the Roma striker.
Sweden piled the pressure for at least an equalizer. They almost had their wishes fulfilled in the 90th minute.
Ishak saw his goal bound strike blocked by Sincere Seth.
The African champions held on for their second win in a row in the competition.