The Nigeria U-23 team has secured one of the quarter final tickets of the men’s football event of the Rio Olympic Games after beating Sweden early Monday morning in Manus.
While the searchlight was on Oghenekaro Etebo to once more deliver the goals, it was AS Roma youngster, Sadiq Umar, that got the only goal for Nigeria in the Group B clash against Sweden.
After adopting cautious approach in the early exchanges, the Nigeria team soon busted to life and came close to breaking the deadlock in the ninth minute with three quick fire attempts from Umar, Etebo and then from Captain Mikel Obi but none could go inside the net.
Nigeria dominated play with as much as 10 shots on target but the Sweden keeper, Linde, stood tall in between the sticks, denying the Dream Team VI players; especially Etebo who wanted to add to his four-goal tally from the group opener against Japan.
However, after all the near misses and heroics of the Sweden goalkeeper, Nigeria finally got the opening goal and it was AS Roma youngster, Umar, that got the curtain raiser as he headed Nigeria in front in the 39th minute after a well delivered cross from Stanley Amuzie.
Nigeria attempted to increase the tally early in the second half with Mikel getting the first chance after the break but the Chelsea star was denied yet again by an outstanding save from the Swedish keeper.
While Nigeria continuing to pile the pressure they just could not get the ball inside the net.
In the 73rd minute, Sadiq Umar made way for Aminu Umar as Coach Siasia attempted to inject some freshness into his team
Also Mikel was pulled off for Kinglsey Madu in the 80th minute after an above average performance by the Team Nigeria captain against the Swedes.
While the Swedes attempted a late fightback to see if they can earn part of the spoils with Nigeria, Coach Siasia’s boys held on for the slim win which has earned them a berth in the quarter final of the men’s football event even with a game to spare against Colombia.