Colombia defeated Nigeria 2-0 at the Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo on Wednesday to reach the quarter finals of the Olympic Games.
Coach Samson Siasia rested goalkeeper Emmanuel Daniel for Daniel Akpeyi and handed Kingsley Madu, Saliu Popoola, Aminu Umar and Ndifreke Udo their first starts since the competition started.It was the Colombians who got off the starting blocks with the better intent as captain Teofilo Gutierrez pounced on a pass from Diego Pabon to knock it past Akpeyi for the opening goal.
The Nigeria midfield, marshaled by veteran John Obi Mikel, struggled to create chances for most of the first half.Nigeria’s best chance fell to Oghenekaro Etebo in the second half but he scoffed his shot after a pass from Mikel.Colombia cemented their win late on after Akpeyi brought down Harold Preciado inside the box. The goalkeeper was lucky to get a yellow card for the late challenge on forward.
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After turning provider in the first half, Pabon stepped up to take the penalty kick and he wasted no effort in shooting an emphatic strike past the goalkeeper for the South American’s second.Despite Japan’s 1-0 defeat of Sweden in the other Group B game, Colombia joined Nigeria in the quarter finals where they both await the qualifying teams from Group A which has Denmark, Brazil, Iraq and South Africa contending for the two spots