Duro Ikhazuagbe in Rio
Dream Team VI led by John Mikel Obi put Nigeria on the medals table on sunday with a 3-2 victory over Honduras in the bronze match of the 2016 Olympic Games ending Sunday evening here in Brazil.
The bronze is Nigeria’s first medal at Rio2016 after 16 days of competing in nine sports with nothing to show for the outing.
But the Nigerian Under-23 male football team who missed playing in the final against host Brazil last night at the iconic Maracana Stadium in Rio due to the defeat it suffered against Germany, rose to the occasion, snatching a three goal-lead against the Central Americans midway through the game.
Mikel Obi combined brilliantly with Ezekiel Imoh to set up Sadiq Umar for Dream Team’s first goal in the 34th minute. Aminu Umar increased Nigeria’s lead four minutes into the second half after latching on the ball as Honduras goalkeeper, Luis Lopez struggled to stop Mikel’s shot.
Samson Siasia’s wards took the game beyond the reach of Honduras with another goal coming off the boots of Sadiq within six minutes. It was another of Mikel’s assist to make it 3-0.
But like every game the Dream Team played at this tournament, the slept off and almost allow the Honduras to cancel out the lead.
Antony Lozano pulled one back in the 71st minute, while Marcelo Perreira added another to leave scores at 3-2. Honduras second goal was a costly mistake by goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi.
Despite pushing hard for a third goal Honduras who lost 1-3 to Nigeria at the Four-Nation Invitational Tournament in Suwon, Korea Republic in June could not get the equalizer to force the game into extra-time.
The victory meant Nigeria has now won gold, silver and bronze from the men’s Olympic football tournament over the past 20 years. Dream Team won gold in 1996 and picked silver eight years ago in Beijing, also under Siasia.