Rio 2016: Colombia Edged Nigeria To Sail Through


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Colombia beat Nigeria 2-0 at the Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo on Wednesday to make the last eight of the men’s football event at the ongoing Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Having already qualified for the knockout rounds, Nigeria U23 coach Samson Siasia made five changes to the starting XI to refresh the side and give everyone a run.

Goalkeeper Emmanuel Daniel was rested for Daniel Akpeyi and Kingsley Madu, Saliu Popoola, Aminu Umar and Ndifreke Udo got their first starts since the competition began.

Los Cafeteros came out firing on all cylinders as captain Teofilo Gutierrez pounced on a pass from Diego Pabon to beat Akpeyi for the opening goal.

The Dream Team were lacking in initiative as captain John Obi Mikel struggled to create any meaningful opportunities, with their first chance falling to Oghenekaro Etebo in the second half who scoffed his shot.

Siasia then rang the changes, bringing on Imho Ezekiel, Usman Muhammed and Stanley Amuzie, but the Colombians held firm and sealed the victory late on when Akpeyi brought down Harold Preciado inside the box with a rash tackle.

Pabon, who provided the assist for the opener, stepped up to take the penalty and he made no mistake from 12 yards to fire Colombia into the quarterfinals of the competition.

There was bad news for the Dream Team in the closing stages as star player Etebo was stretchered off with five minutes left having picked up an injury.

Following the victory, Colombia join Nigeria in the quarter finals where they’ll be paired with the two qualifying teams from Group A that features hosts Brazil, Denmark, Iraq and South Africa.

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