Rio Olympics: Dream Team beat Sweden to qualify for quarter-finals

Sadiq Umar

Nigeria’s Dream Team VI continued their impressive performance at the men’s football event of the Rio Olympic Games by beating Sweden 1-0 on Sunday night.

The victory confirmed their place in the quarter-finals and takes them a step closer towards a second Olympic gold medal.

Samson Siasia’s side who had defeated Japan in their first game on Friday morning, maintained same momentum when they faced the European champions at the Arena Amazônia, Manaus.

Roma starlet, Sadiq Umar, scored the only goal – his second of the tournament – five minutes before half-time.

Same players who featured in the 5-4 win over Japan started for Nigeria with all eyes glued to Oghenekaro Etebo who notched four in the game.

But it was Etebo’s strike partner, Umar, who stood up to be counted by scoring the only goal of the game.

The lanky forward effectively connected to an inswinging cross from defender, Stanley Amuzie, to put his side in front.

Nigeria dominated for majority of the game with skipper, John Obi Mikel, Etebo and goalscorer Umar all coming close.

The African champions however lost grip of their possession towards the latter stages just as it played out against Japan in the first game.

Coach Hakan Ericson used all three of his substitutes – Ken Sema, Muamer Tankovic and Jacob Une Larsson – to try and give his team a new dimension but, in the end, Nigeria’s backline was up to the challenge and held on for all three points.

On Wednesday, Nigeria will close out group play against Colombia in Sao Paulo, while Sweden have a must-win match ahead against Japan in Salvador if they are going to continue their Rio 2016 journey.