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Dream Team VI pips Sweden 1-0, advances to q/final

Dream Team VI pips Sweden 1-0

Nigeria progressed to the quarter-finals at the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament Rio 2016 after a 1-0 victory over Sweden in Group B.

Their hard-fought win came courtesy of Sadiq Umar header at the Amazonia Arena in Manaus.

For a large part of the match both sides played conservatively, but it was Nigeria who looked more threatening in attack. 

Four –goal hero against Japan in Nigeria’s opening match, Oghenekaro Etebo remained the African champions’ livewire.

He created some anxious moments in the Swedish area before side-netting with a fierce shot in the 29th minute.

Fresh from scoring four goals last time out, 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 Sweden goalkeeper Andreas Linde.

Seven minutes later, Etebo connected powerfully with a header in the box, which sailed narrowly over the bar.

Umar, however, made good with his own header four minutes later when diving to connect a marvelous cross from defender Stanley Amuzie. 

Umar had also opened Nigeria’s account in Thursday’s 5-4 defeat of Japan.

The Africans continued their dominance in the second half, and just three minutes in, captain John Obi Mikel fired a well-driven shot from the top of the area saved by Linde. 

The Swedish goalkeeper had to be alert four minutes later when Etebo dribbled inside the corner of the penalty box and attempted a curling effort, but once again, Linde saved.

Coach Hakan Ericson used all three of his substitutes – Ken Sema, Muamer Tankovic and Jacob Une Larsson – to try and give his team a new dimension.

In the end, Nigeria’s backline was up to the challenge and held on for all three points.

Amuzie and Imoh Ezekiel side –netted, before another heart–thumping Etebo run from the flank was wasted as Sadiq Umar failed to get a leg to the ball.

But Nigeria earned all three points even though they wasted more chances in the closing stages.

Swedish centre–back Sincere Seth also thwarted an opportunity for the Swedes in the 90th minute.

 On Wednesday, Nigeria will close out group play against Colombia in Sao Paulo.

Sweden, meanwhile have a must-win match ahead against Japan in Salvador if they are going to continue their Rio 2016 journey. 

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