SPORTS: Mikel leads Nigeria to Olympic semis

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August 14, 2016 by Levi Dominic

MIKEL

John Mikel Obi scored a classy goal to bring Nigeria within reach of an Olympic medal with a 2-0 quarter-final win against Denmark in Salvador on Saturday evening.

The Chelsea midfielder stole a march on his marker and calmly side-footed home for the first goal in a tense, entertaining encounter. 

Mikel earned a valuable 16th-minute reward for his attacking intent in midfield before a header from Aminu Umar doubled their advantage with an hour played.

The African champions faced a formidable test against two-time Olympic medallists Denmark, who gained confidence throughout the game despite conceding. Indeed, Nigeria needed a flurry of fine first-half saves from their goalkeeper Emmanuel Daniel, especially from Danish midfielder Frederick Borsting, to maintain their lead. 

Mikel and his team-mates stood firm, nevertheless, protecting a slightly apprehensive back four, as they defender from the front led by forwards Sadiq Umar and Imoh Ezekiel. The Blues veteran was also paramount and played a part in almost every opportunity for Nigeria.

Even without injured star striker Oghenekaro Etebo, manager Samson Siasia urged his side to increase their attacking pressure after the interval. Denmark were duly exposed on 59 minutes when Umar connected with a free header for his third goal of the competition. 

The Scandinavians struggled to threaten after the deficit increased, while Nigeria were a foot away from 3-0 when Ezekiel zoomed in unmarked. In the end, they did more than enough to deserve the victory and clinch a shot at the medals on Wednesday.

Mikel will lead out his country in the semi-final against Germany at 8pm UK time with a place in the gold-medal final up for grabs.

Source: CHELSEA FC NEWS

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