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Rio Olympics: Nigeria to play Germany in semi-finals

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Rio Olympics: Nigeria to play Germany in semi-finals

Rio Olympics: Nigeria to play Germany in semi-finals
August 14
06:50 2016

Team Nigeria captain Mikel Obi scored a goal and set up Aminu Umar as Nigeria’s U-23 national team on Saturday night defeated Denmark 2-0 in Salvador to reach the semi-finals of the men’s football event of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Nigeria will now play Germany, who defeated Portugal 4-0, in the semi-final on Wednesday in Sao Paulo.

The U-23 team, the 1996 football champions of the Games, set up a clash with the Europeans, who were beaten 4-0 by Brazil in their final Group A game. Group B leaders Nigeria had defeated Japan and Sweden 5-4 and 1-0 respectively, before losing their final Group B game to Colombia 2-0.

It was a revenge of sorts for the African champions, who were thrashed 6-2 by the Danes at the Suwon Invitational tournament in South Korea in June.

Coach Samson Siasia brought on Aminu Umar for the injured Oghenekaro Etebo, while South Africa-based goalkeeper, who kept in the defeat to Colombia, also returned to the bench as Emmanuel Daniel retained his place back in the starting line-up.

Denmark had rattled the Nigerians as early as the 11th minute when Kasper Nielsson’s ferocious volley crashed against the woodwork with goalkeeper Emmanuel Daniel beaten.

But the 1996 Olympic champions stunned their European counterparts just four minutes later with Mikel grabbing the opener after good work by the dangerous Imoh Ezekiel.

Nigeria, the 1996 football champions of the Games, set up a clash with the Europeans, who were beaten 4-0 by Brazil in their final Group A game. Group B leaders Nigeria had defeated Japan and Sweden 5-4 and 1-0 respectively, before losing their final Group B game to Colombia 2-0.

Ezekiel was a constant trouble for the Danes and he should have increased Nigeria’s lead in the 20th minute after stylishly evading his marker inside the box but the Al Arabi striker blasted his shot wide with only the Danish keeper to beat.

The European champions then intensified pressure but keeper Daniel was on hand to thwart their efforts, first keeping out a goal-bound header in the 25th minute before saving from point blank range two minutes later.

Daniel’s left foot scuttled a dangerous Denmark free kick in the 56th minute as Nigeria held on to their lead but it was the African champions who went ahead just two minutes later.

Left-back Stanley Amuzie was shattered as he watched his tricky volley palmed away after dispossessing a Dane off the ball. But Aminu Umar’s powerful header off the resultant corner kick taken by Mikel, glanced past a sea of heads to put Nigeria 2-0 up and send seal their third appearance in the semi-finals of the event.

Nigeria’s preparations in Atlanta as well as their participation at the Games have been trailed by controversies, with the squad arriving in Manaus from just six hours before their opener against Japan, after being stranded for days in the US.

The team skipped training on Thursday and threatened to boycott the game against Denmark on unless they were paid their outstanding allowances at the Games, as well as the unpaid five months salaries and allowances of the coaches.

They were paid their allowances before the game on Saturday.

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Mujeeb

Mujeeb

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