NIGERIA’S Dream Team secured the country’s first and only Rio 2016 Olympic Games medal with a 3-2 defeat of Honduras in the bronze medal match at Mineirao Stadium on Saturday.
It is the third Olympic medal for Nigeria’s footballers after taking gold at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games and silver at Beijing 2008. Honduras missed the chance to win their first medal in any sport in 11 Olympic Games appearances.
Sadiq Umar opened the score in the 34th minute after a weighted pass from John Obi Mikel and made it 3-0 with his fourth goal of the tournament midway through the second half Aminu Umar gave his team a 2-0 lead just after the half-time following a shot delivered by Mikel that goalkeeper Luis Lopez of Honduras struggled
to catch. As in the 6-0 defeat
by Brazil in their semifinal, Honduras’ backline showed their frailties. Before scoring, Aminu Umar shot against both the right and the left post and Usman Muhammed put his header over the bar. Honduras pressed to get back in the match as Antony Lozano found the net with 19 minutes remaining and Marcelo Pereira benefited from a costly mistake by Emmanuel Daniel to net a late second.
Despite pushing hard for a goal to even the scores and force extra-time, Honduras could not make the equaliser and Nigeria secured their medal.
On their way to the bronze medal match, Nigeria finished top of group B and beat Den- mark 2-0 in a quarterfinal before being defeated 2-0 by Germany in the semifinal.
Speaking on the match, Dream Team captain John Obi Mikel said the team was spurred to victory because of the loss to Germany. “I was disappointed against Germany (beaten 2-0 in the semifinal) because I don’t like losing, I always want to win. But I am so proud of this team, the boys. They worked so hard.”
“We have an amazing coach, he’s always been there for the boys.” On what the medal means for Nigeria; “It is very important, because football in Nigeria is absolutely massive. We had extra-pressure perhaps, but we have done it for us, for our family, for Nigeria.”
Coach Samson Siasia on his part said: “I want to say thanks to the players. They did a great job. It is good to take something back home. “Having bronze is not easy, we are happy and we have to celebrate. We have to enjoy this moment.”
On Brazilian crowds during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games: “I want to thank Brazil for the great support and hospitality. We are very pleased about staying here.”s