Nigeria’s Under-23 football team suffered their first loss at the 2016 Rio Olympics when they went down 0-2 to Colombia on Wednesday.
Goals from Teofilo Gutierrez and Dorlan Pabon proved decisive as Los Cafeteros sealed a convincing win which saw them finish as runners-up, behind Nigeria in Group B.
For Colombia’s first goal in the fourth minute, Pabon’s exquisite pass found Gutierrrez unmarked and the Sporting Lisbon man proceeded to pick his spot which left the Nigeria goalkeeper, Daniel Akpeyi with no chance.
As expected, Nigeria’s main goalscoring threat was provided by Oghenekaro Etebo but he missed two excellent opportunities in the first half.
Colombia however continued to display endeavour to amass maximum points and got just reward in the 63rd minute after Harold Preciado was fouled in the box by Akpeyi.
Pabon made no mistake from 12 yards as he drove the spot kick home with frightening force.
The defeat did not hamper Nigeria’s chances of qualification as they had already finished as group winners with six points even before kick-off but it was crucial for Colombia who booked qualification for the quarter finals as the second-placed team in the Group with five points.
Colombia will play their quarterfinal clash in Sao Paulo on Saturday, while Nigeria travel to Salvador for their last-eight encounter.
Nigeria’s under-23s will meet Denmark in the quarterfinals. This was after the Danes could only finish in second place following a 0-4 loss to Brazil in their final Group A match at the games.
The Brazilians who had yet to win before the contest decided at the Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador, finally turned on the style and outclassed the Europeans in emphatic fashion.
Gabriel ‘Gabigol’ Barbosa netted a brace while Luan and Gabriel Jesus also added goalscoring contributions as Brazil sealed top spot in Group A and avoided a much-anticipated showdown with the Dream Team VI in the quarterfinals.
Denmark thus finished in second place, behind Brazil, after amassing four points from their three group matches.
Nigeria will now meet Denmark in the second quarter final of the competition at Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador on August 13.