Olympic football: Germany end Nigeria’s gold medal hopes 

Samson Siasia

Nigeria’s quest for a second gold medal in the male football event at the Olympics finally ended following a disappointing 2-0 loss to Germany on Wednesday.

The Dream Team, winners in 1996 and silver medallists eight years later, were on an incredible run at the Rio Olympics despite several internal crises engulfing the team.

At Arena Corinthians, Sao Paulo, they came up against a high scoring German side who are unbeaten in the tournament.

Lukas Klostermann and Nils Petersen scored either halves to hand the European an easy win thus confirming a clash against Brazil in the final.

The host had earlier dispatched Honduras 6-0 in the other semi-final to qualify for their fourth finals in history.

The young Eagles lined up without two of their most inspirational players – Oghenekaro Etebo and Azubuike Okechukwu.

While Etebo failed to shake off a knock received in their last group game with Colombia, Azubuike sat off the encounter after accumulating two yellow cards.

Aminu Umar and Ndifreke Udoh were however given the nod to start in their places by coach Samson Siasia.

The Nigerians struggled against a more compact German side whose fleet-footed forwards picked their way around their opponents almost with abandon.

They were in front as early as the 10th minute when Klostermann found free space in the box to tap in a Max Meyer cross for their opening goal.

The African champions, stunned by the early deficit, picked themselves up and went in search of the equalizer albeit with the fear of being left open at the back.

Their first opportunity came moments later when goalkeeper Timo Horn’s poor clearance gifted Sadiq Umar an opportunity to score but he shot straight back at the goalkeeper leaving captain John Obi Mikel begging.

Aside a couple of half chances, both sides looked disjointed and poor with their passing.

Petersen however got the job done less than 10 minutes from time by getting at the end of a Davie Selke cross to give his country their first ever opportunity to win a gold medal.

Germany head into Sunday’s final against Brazil at the Maracana Stadium to renew their rivalry following the demolition at the World Cup two years ago.

Nigeria will face Honduras in the match for the bronze medal.