Nigeria’s Under-23 soccer ambassadors, the Dream Team VI smacked Sweden 1-0 early Monday morning to advance to the quarterfinals of Rio 2016 Olympics.
The boys stormed the Amazona Arena pitch in Manaus with zest, hoping to repeat the feat that earned them two goals in ten minutes in their earlier 5-4 defeat of Japan. But the Swedes turned out not to be an easy nut to crack as they repelled the incursions of Sadiq Umar and Oghenekaro Etebo who were the masterminds of their opening triumph.
What would have been the first goal of the match in the 30th minute ended in the arms of Swedish goalkeeper Andreas Linde when Umar shot straight at him after a skilful build-up.
Four-goal hero Etebo also missed a great chance when his glancing header of a fine cross from Imoh Ezekiel soared above the post.
But it was Umar who salvaged the situation in the 39th minute with a finely delivered flying header from a Stanley Amuzie cross beyond the outstretched hands of the Swedish goal tender, taking the game into the break with the Nigerians one goal up.
The Swedes made vigorous efforts to extract their pound of flesh on resumption of the second half to no avail. Rather, it was the Dream Team that nearly notched up their tally but Captain Mikel Obi wasted Umar’s pass to him on the edge of the penalty box and his attempt at goal ended with a diving save by Linde.
Etebo nearly scored what could possibly have been the goal of the tournament with a solo effort when in the 51st minute he piloted the ball from the left flank past a web of Swedish defenders before unleashing a fiery curler that Linde tipped out of the net for a corner kick.
An added time attempt at equalizing by the Swedes was frustrated by Sincere Seth and the Dream Team VI coasted home with a lone goal to clinch their spot among the last 16 with two wins from two matches against Thursday’s 2-2 draw between Sweden and Colombia.
Brazil could only manage a goalless draw with Iraq after 97 minutes of play leaving Neymar and his teeming fans frustrated. Neymar earned a yellow card when he vented his frustration on the opponents in the fruitless second half of play. The Iraqis literally put their bodies on the line several times to block the Brazilians’ 20 shots on goal against the Iraqis’ 6 shots.
Denmark beat South Africa 1-0
Reigning champions, Serena and Venus Williams, have crashed out of the tennis tournament after losing their first-ever Olympics doubles match in the first round.
The sisters, who won the women’s doubles title in 2000, 2008 and 2012, were stunned in the first round by the Czech pairing of Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova.
World number 1, Novak Djokovic tearfully exited the court as Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina, ranked number 145 in the world, terminated his Olympic medals hope.
Del Potro had been trapped in the lift before the game but was rescued by his country’s handball team before going on to create the biggest upset so far by beating Djokovic 7-6, 7-6.
Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu, known as “The Iron Lady” set a world record in the Women’s 400 metres individual medley in 4 minutes 26.36 seconds easily eclipsing the record of 4:28:43 held by China’s Ye Shiwen.
Also, Australia’s 4x100m Women’s freestyle relay quartet, also known as the Golden Ladies, set a new world record with a time of 3.30.65 seconds.
There have been two security scares since the opening. Officials are investigating reports that a bullet tore through a tent in the media centre and the bomb squad was called in to detonate an unattended backpack at the finish line of the men’s cycling road race.