Nigeria will face Germany Thursday for a place in the Gold medal final of the Rio Olympics after...
Nigeria will face Germany Thursday for a place in the Gold medal final of the Rio Olympics after both teams won their respective quarterfinals today.
Germany humbled Portugal 4-0 and Nigeria dumped Denmark 2-0. For Nigeria, it was a sweet revenge after they lost to the Danes 6-2 in a friendly in June.
However, on Thursday they will be without midfielder Azubuike Okechukwu, who led them to win the U23 AFCON in December in Senegal after he picked up a needless second booking against Denmark.
Nigeria won this rematch comfortably as Denmark did not really push them and also goalkeeper Emmanuel Daniel was at his best as he pulled off at least three top saves to keep a clean sheet in Salvador.
A bright start by Nigeria was finally crowned in the 16th minute by a rare goal by Chelsea star Mikel Obi, who slid home a super cutback by the lively Imoh Ezekiel.
|Mikel celebrates Nigeria's opener with Umar Sadiq|
And by the time, Umar Aminu, in for the injured Oghenekaro Etebo, headed home Mikel’s corner on 59 minutes, it was over for the Danes.
All the drama that littered the build-up to this encounter for Nigeria were forgotten and possibly forgiven as coach Samson Siasia's side took the game to their opponents from the first whistle.
A dipping volley by Kasper Nielsson after 11 minutes crashed against the Nigeria crossbar, but it was Nigeria who really threatened from the onset before they got the go-ahead goal through Mikel.
Imoh Ezekiel continued to cause problems to the Denmark defence.
Nigeria goalkeeper Daniel then came up with a reaction save in the 25th minute from a looping header and moments later, he made a point-blank save as Denmark fought back in search of the equaliser.
Denmark dominated for spell thereafter, but they still could not get past a defence led by Norway-based William Troost-Ekong.
Aminu’s goal just before the hour mark will then prove to be the killer blow as Denmark struggled to push forward with much purpose.
They were restricted to half chances to ensure Nigeria made it to their third Olympics semifinals.