Nigeria Off The Mark With Japan Win

Nigeria 2-1 Japan

Nigeria have registered their first win at the Beijing Olympics, beating Japan 2-1 at the Tianjin Olympic Stadium in their Group B match on Sunday afternoon.

After their goalless draw with Holland in their opening match, Nigeria were keen to get off the mark against Japan at the Beijing Olympics.

And they managed to achieve that, thanks to a 58th minute strike by Chievo striker Victor Obinna and a goal from substitute Victor Anichebe on 74 minutes.

Coach Samson Siasia named an unchanged line-up that faced the Dutch and opted for an attacking formation. Japan, on the other hand, made three changes to the squad. Notably, Catania forward Takayuki Morimoto was dropped by coach Yasuharu Sorimachi for South Korea-born Tadanari Lee.

First Half

Nigeria were the more enterprising side in the first 45 minutes, as their attacking and flowing football caused problems for the Japanese defence. Ajilore Oluwafemi was the first to test Japan goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa with his header on 11 minutes.

As Nigeria attempted to pry the Japanese defence open with their play, Chibuzor Okonkwo was booked by the referee for simulation in the 15th minute, after the defender was adjudged to have made a dive in the Japan penalty box.

Playing with a conservative lone striker upfront, Japan had sporadic attacking opportunities, and the closest they came to taking the lead was in the 32nd minute. Michihiro Yasuda made a blazing run down the left flank, beating Dele Adeleye to deliver a pinpoint pass to Hiroyuki Taniguchi who was waiting in the Nigeria penalty box.

But the Kawasaki Frontale midfielder could only fire his effort wide above the goalpost.

Nigeria twice wasted chances to go ahead, first in the 29th minute after Solomon Okoronkwo beat two Japanese defenders on the right flank to cross into the penalty box for Odemwingie. But with the Japanese keeper and goal wide open, the Lokomotiv Moscow player failed to hold on to his nerves and ballooned his shot.

The Nigerians were left frustrated a second time seven minutes later, as Sani Kaita’s powerful strike could only bulge the Japanese net, after a good layoff from Ajilore.

With both teams failing to make the breakthrough, the pockets of Nigeria fans in the stands were left wondering if their team can score their first goal in the Beijing Olympics.

Second Half

And it was Obinna who gave them the answer, as he opened his account in the Far East in the 58th minute. A strong run by Solomon Okoronkwo saw the midfielder pass the ball to Odemwingie who moved swiftly in the Japanese box and directed the ball to Obinna on the right.

The Chievo forward blasted home his powerful shot, which gave Nishikawa no chance at all.

Nigeria, spurred on by their opening goal, doubled their advantage in the 74th minute. Obinna, now turned creator, directed a pinpoint pass to substitute Victor Anichebe. The Everton striker had the easiest of task to fire his effort beyond the reach of the Japanese keeper.

Japan however, did not give up fighting and were rewarded for their efforts five minutes later. Sloppy defending from the Nigerian defenced allowed Taniguchi space to thread a pass to Yohei Toyoda and the striker scored to give his side a lifeline.

Despite a late flourish from the Japanese, Nigeria held on to clinch their first victory at the Beijing Olympics.

With the loss, Japan have been eliminated from the tournament, despite having to face Holland next Wednesday. Nigeria, on the other hand, will take on the United States in their final group match on the same day.


Nigeria: Ambruse Vanzekin (gk), Chibuzor Okonkwo, Onyekachi Apam, Dele Adeleye, Adefemi Olubayo, Sani Kaita, Isaac Promise (capt), Ajilore Oluwafemi, Victor Nsofor Obinna, Solomon Okoronkwo, Peter Osaze Odemwingie

Japan: Shusaku Nishikawa (gk), Hiroki Mizumoto (capt), Masato Morishige, Atsuto Uchida, Michihiro Yasuda, Hajime Hosogai, Keisuke Honda, Hiroyuki Taniguchi, Shinji Kagawa, Takuya Honda, Tadanari Lee

Yellow Cards: 16th minute – Chibuzor Okonkwo (Nigeria) | 57th minute – Hajime Hosogai (Japan) | 59th minute – Adefemi Olubayo (Nigeria)

Goals: 58th minute – Victor Nsofor Obinna (Nigeria) | 74th minute – Victor Anichebe (Nigeria) | 79th minute – Yohei Toyoda (Japan)

Nigeria Off The Mark With Japan Win Reviewed by admin Ucop on 12:28 AM Rating: 5

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