As the 2016 Rio Olympic tournament kick starts today, the Dream Team of Nigeria begins its campaign on a good note by defacing their Japanese Under 23 counterpart with 5-4 in the first game of group B
The Nigerian side under Samson Siasia management, despite arriving late to Rio, the host city, displayed their readiness at Manaus Stadium, in Brazil when Umar Sadiq opened the scoring sheet and Oghenekaro Etebo, star of the match, pull-up a thrilling performance by netting four goals to secure the win for Nigeria.
At the early minutes of the encounter, the Japan had the game’s first chance but Dream team goalie, Emmanuel Daniel made a point blank save before Sincere Seth cleared away for a corner. The game got off to a blistering start when Sadiq opened the scoring in the fifth minute after imoh Ezekiel’s initial shot was stopped by Japan keeper.
A minute later Japan equalised from the penalty spot through Shinzo Koroki after Amuzie fouled inside the box. In the ninth minute, Etebo put Nigeria ahead again with a left foot strike off a cross from Shehu Abdullahi.
The Japanese were back on level terms through Takumi Minamino on 13 minutes following a fine intricate passes which split the Nigerian defence open. Amuzie, in the 19th minute, hit a long range strike which Japan keeper palmed away for a corner.
Few minutes later, Ezekiel made a timely block which went away for a corner. In the 31st minute, Ezekiel sent in a low cross which failed to connect with a Nigerian player.
Etebo came close to putting Nigeria in front on 38 minutes but blazed his effort over the bar. In the 42nd minute, Etebo made it 3-2, pouncing on a poor clearance after his initial effort came off a Japanese player. On the stroke of half time, Etebo had the chance to score Nigeria’s fourth but didn’t get a clean header from Sadiq’s cross.
Etebo got his hat-trick and made it 4-2 in favour for Nigeria after Sadiq was fouled inside the box. In the 61 minutes Mikel Obi hit a left foot strike which went narrowly wide.
The intriguing Etebo made it 5-2 for Nigeria in the 67th minute after Japan keeper made a harsh of his clearance. Substitute Asano reduced the deficit in the 70th minute. Nigeria made their first change on 71 minutes with Kingsley Madu replacing Usman Mohammed.
In the 77th minute Daniel rushed out of his line to make a save. Ndifreke Udo was introduced for Ezekiel in the 79th minute. Nigeria made their last change on 86 minute with Mikel coming off for Popoola Saliu. And in the 95th minute, Musashi Suzuki made it 5-4.
Nigeria, leading group B, will face Sweden on Sunday while Japan will face Colombia.