Nigeria coach Samson Siasia is hoping for a second 'miracle' at the Olympic Games


Oghenekaro Etebo scored four goals in a thrilling 5-4 victory over Japan in the opening game in Group B on Thursday after a tardy arrival in the Amazon to compete in their games.

"My boys defied science to win this game; what gave us this game was the mental toughness of the boys. For a team not to train for two days and put up this type of performance is a miracle. You know that when players are tired they tend to lose focus. That is why we conceded four goals,” said Siasia as Nigerian prepared for their second game at the tournament on Sunday against Sweden, also at the Amazonia Arena in Manaus.

“Our target here is to win the gold and no two games are the same. I hope my team sustains their opening form and even step up a gear in subsequent matches.”

Nigeria must also play Colombia in their last group game in Sao Paulo on Wednesday as they seek to advance to the last eight.

The Nigerian under-23 side also did not make the tournament. American airline company Delta flew them on a special plane for free to get to the Games in time. “This came to our attention on the 20th anniversary of the Nigerian football team’s win at the Atlanta Games. Everyone was happy to help them with another miracle by getting them to Manaus,”

said Delta spokesperson Betsy Talton on the airline stepping in to fly the team -- free of charge -- from Atlanta to Manaus after learning the team was stranded in the USA.

If its players were suffering any ill effects of the 3,000-mile flight, they did not show.

Giant forward Sadiq Umar put Nigeria ahead in the sixth minute, and it was 2-2 after only 13 minutes. Etebo put Nigeria ahead for good before the break, and they went ahead 5-2 before nifty goals by Takuma Asano and Musashi Suzuku made it 5-4.