Nigeria earns Olympic bronze with 3-2 win over Honduras
BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (AP) Sadiq Umar scored a pair of goals and Nigeria won the Olympic bronze medal by holding off Honduras 3-2 on Saturday at Mineirao Stadium.
It was Nigeria's third overall Olympic medal in soccer. The African nation won gold at the 1996 Atlanta Games with a 3-2 victory over Argentina. The team fell to Argentina in the final at the 2008 Beijing Games for the silver.
The medal was a reward for an Olympic tournament that got off to a rocky start. Nigeria's arrival in Brazil was delayed until just hours before the team's opening match because of a flight mix-up in Atlanta.
Honduras, which challenged with a pair of late goals, heads home from Brazil empty-handed but the team's appearance in the bronze match was its best finish at the Olympics.
Brazil will play Germany in the gold-medal match later Saturday at the iconic Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
Sadiq Umar put Nigeria up 1-0, rushing in to slot a cross from John Obi Mikel in the 34th minute. Mikel, who plays for Chelsea, is one of the three senior players that Nigeria added to the Olympic roster. The men's tournament is played among under-23 teams.
Aminu Umar added a goal in the 49th minute, burying the rebound after Mikel's hard shot bounced off Honduras goalkeeper Luis Lopez. Sadiq Umar scored the third in the 56th.
Honduras avoided the shutout with Antony Lozano's header in the 71st. Marcelo Pereira scored on a header off a free kick in the 86th.
Nigeria was the sentimental favorite after the team got stranded in Atlanta just before the start of the Olympic tournament. Players arrived in the jungle city of Manaus about six hours before their opening match against Japan.
Nigeria then shook off its travel fatigue to beat Japan 5-4. Oghenekaro Etebo scored four goals.
It was not the first time an African soccer team had to make a last-minute flight for a high-profile match in Brazil.
In 2014, Cameroon's World Cup team refused to board a plane to take them to Brazil because of a dispute over bonus payments for the tournament. Their national soccer federation took out a loan to meet their demands, and the team caught a later flight.