Despite arriving Manaus, Brazil a few hours before their opening game against Japan, the Nigerian Under 23 team at the Rio Olympic Games made an extraordinary start to its Olympic campaign, defeating Japan 5-4.
Sadiq Umar scored five minutes into the game to put Nigeria in front before Shinzo Koroki equalised moments later from the penalty spot.
The delay didn’t seem to affect the 1996 gold medallists as four goals from Oghenekaro Etebo edged a memorable nine-goal thriller.
Etabo fired Nigeria to the top of the goalscorers’ table, completing his hat trick after 50 minutes, calmly slotting home his fourth to make it 5-2 on 65 minutes.
The Japanese pulled two goals later in the game with the fourth deep into injury time. But time time put paid to any thought of a Japanese renaissance as the referee brought the game to a close shortly afterwards.
Nigeria’s Dream Team VI now sits atop Group B with three points after Sweden and Colombia played out a 2-2 draw earlier in the day.
The team will play against Sweden in their next game in Manaus on Sunday.