Olympics 2016: Nigeria Beat Japan 5-4 In Their Opening Match

Despite starting the Olympics on the bad side by getting stranded in Atlanta which made the team to arrive at the Olympics very late just few hours to their first match with no time to rest, the Nigeria’s football team have come out victorious by beating Japan 5-4 in their first match. Oghenekaro Etebo became the first Nigerian to score a hat-trick at the Olympics. 8 goals were scored in 77 minutes.

Sadiq Umar got the goal fest underway, putting Nigeria ahead barely five minutes in. Three minutes later Japan was awarded a penalty, which Shinzo Koroki converted from the spot to level the score at 1-1. Japan had barely finished celebrating when Nigeria regained the lead through Oghenekaro Etebo.

Two minutes later, Takumi Minamino scored again for Japan, tying the score at 2-2.  After the first 15 minutes there came a period of relative calm until Etebo struck again three minutes before halftime, taking the jet-lagged Super Eagles into the break with a one goal lead.

Nigeria extended the lead five minutes into the second half after Umar went down in the box and won a penalty. Etebo completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot to make it 4-2, Nigeria.

Nigeria scored again in the 66th after Japanese goalkeeper Masatoshi Kushibiki rushed out to shut down an attack, leaving his net unattended for a charging Etebo who promptly made it 5-2 in the 66th minute.

Etebo, who plays his club soccer in Portugal, had a particularly good night, putting five shots on goal, scoring four, and becoming the first Nigerian to score a hat-trick at the Olympics.

In tthe 70th minute substitute Takuma Asano who side-heeled in a cross from Hiroki Fujihara from close range made it 5-3.

Moments later Asano, who was recently signed by Premier League giants Arsenal, rocketed an effort off the post although the whistle had blown for offside.

Japan scored again in extra time through substitute Musashi Suzuki who pulled the ball back away from the defense and slotted it to the far post past Nigeria keeper Emmanuel Daniel, settling the score at 5-4 in Nigeria’s favor.

By that time it was midnight local time and the exhausted Nigerians had just claimed victory in what has far and away been the most entertaining match we’ve seen yet in the Rio Olympics. Not bad for a team that had started traveling at 7 a.m.

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