A lone goal second half goal from Angel Di Maria saw Argentina claim their second straight Men’s Olympic Football gold in a narrow 1-0 win over Nigeria on Saturday.
In a rematch of Nigeria’s 1996 3-2 Gold Medal win over the Argentina, the South Americans turned the tables on the Super Eaglets, and while there was no five goal score-line the match still pulsated with class and pace befitting an Olympic final.
The match turned on the end of a well-styled counter-attack early in the second half, as Lionel Messi managed to pull the Nigerian defenders out of position with his close control, before sending an inch-perfect through ball to Di Maria, racing in from a deep position.
Eating up the ground between himself and the advancing Amruse Vanzekin, the Benfica hit-man and Argentina U-20 World Champion from 2007 chipped cheekily over the keeper to score.
A day earlier in Shanghai, two of New Zealand’s group opponents met again, with a Diego strike and a brace from Jo giving Brazil their second bronze medal in four Olympics following a 3-0 win over Belgium at Shanghai Stadium.
Gold Medal Match
Beijing – National Stadium (Bird’s Nest)
Nigeria 0 Argentina 1 (Angel DI MARIA 58). Halftime 0-0
Bronze Medal Match
Shanghai – Shanghai Stadium
Belgium 0 Brazil 3 (DIEGO 27, JO 45, 92). Halftime 0-2