Nigeria U23 continued their impressive showing at Rio 2016 with a 1-0 over Sweden at the Arena Amazonia in Manaus on Sunday to reach the quarter finals of the men’s football event.
A first-half header from AS Roma striker Sadiq Umar settled the tie as the Dream Team VI squandered numerous chances to repeat the five-goals heroic in their opening game against Japan’s Blue Samurai.
It was an unchanged starting XI for Samson Siasia’s side who had fully settled down after the hectic flight troubles that threatened to mar their tournament, and they dominated proceedings from the start with wily captain Mikel Obi pulling the strings in midfield.
Nigeria almost shot ahead when Umar was played in on goal but Swedish goalkeeper Andreas Linde was up to the challenge, before the European champions had a chance of their own at the other end only for Mikael Ishak to volley wide.
Oghenekaro Etebo, who had four goals in his team’s first Olympic match missed a sitter in the 36th minute, heading wide after being beautifully picked out by Imoh Ezekiel.
But Nigeria took the lead they deserved minutes later as the lanky Umar latched onto a delightful cross from Stanley Amuzie to beat Linde with a header.
Linde was called into action again early in the second half as he needed a double save to deny first, Mikel Obi, and then Etebo to keep his side in the tie.
With six points from their opening two games, Nigeria have qualified for the quarterfinals of the men’s football event and Sweden, still on one point will next take on Japan for a shot at the knockout stages.
Next up for Nigeria is their final group stage match against Colombia on Tuesday at 11:00 p.m. (Nigerian Time).