Honduras U23 – Nigeria U23: Dream Team eye consolatory bronze in third place clash


Nigeria will take on Honduras U23 in the third place final of the Rio Olympics men’s football event in Belo Horizonte on Saturday.

The African U23 champions had sought to replicate the country’s 20 years long success at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic winning the gold but their hopes were dashed following a 2-0 semi-final defeat to Germany.

On the other hand, Honduras had their dreams for gold were dashed following a 6-0 semi-final rout in the hands of hosts Brazil, but will now try the Africans for size in their chase of bronze.

However, the Dream Team VI will look to avoid exiting Brazil with no medal after a trouble-plagued but impressive campaign on road to reaching the last four when they face the La Bicolor Olimpica.

They have been boosted by the possible return of team’s top-scorer Oghenekaro Etebo, who was missing due to an injury and midfielder Azubuike Okechukwu from suspension.

The Olympic bronze contest at Mineirao will see both sides meet for the second time this year, it was Samson Siasia’s men that won 3-1 in the Suwon tournament in South Korea in June.

The African side are seeking a campaign-ending victory for the second time against the North Americans after they had managed gain some consolation in the Korea tourney two months ago.

Ahead of the match, Atlanta 1996 Olympic gold winner Abiodun Obafemi has urged the Nigerian side put up a good showing enough claim the bronze to make-up for their campaign troubles.

“I must commend them for getting to this stage seeing everything they went through,” Obafemi told Goal.

“We must strive now to make sure that we win the bronze so that we don’t come back home empty handed.”

Meanwhile, the Nigeria U23 coach has admitted his side played below expectation against the Germans but insisted they are fired up to claim the bronze.

“We didn’t play well in the match [against Germany],” Siasia told Fifa.com.

“We’ve been playing better than what we showed against Germany. There were too many mistakes from us. The Germans are a very good side and they are tactically very, very sound.

“They were running behind and we couldn’t defend them. We did have chances in the first half to score but we didn’t utilise them. That’s what it is in football. If you get to this stage, you have to take your chances.

“All of that to say, we did not play well. It’s like the boys were sleeping right from the first half. But we take this one and hopefully we can go for the bronze medal.”

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