After arriving late to Manaus, Brazil for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Nigeria’s U-23 side struggled past Japan 5-4 in their first Group B game.
Due to a series of delays, the Dream Team VI landed in Manaus just few hours to the kick-off and had little time to rest and prepare for the game.
The game came alive from from the first minute as Royota Ohshima forced an early save from the Nigerian goalkeeper,Emmanuel Daniel from a volley.
It took Nigeria just two minutes to score the first goal of the game through forward Sadiq Umar.
Imoh Ezekiel dribbled brilliantly from the right before unleashing a shot that was spilled by the Japanese goalkeeper and Umar was in the right place for a simple tap in.
Japan leveled immediately three minutes later via a penalty which was given after Stanley Amuzie fouled Shoya Nakajimain the box.
Shinzo Koroki converted the penalty before Oghenekaro Etebo got Nigeria back in the lead.
Etebo controlled a high cross with his chest before firing a half-volley past Japan’s goalkeeper.
Japan again responded quickly though Takumi Minamino who calmly slotted past the Nigerian goalkeeper to make it 2-2.
Etebo gave Nigeria the lead again just before the break, this time picking up a pass unmarked in the box. His first shot was saved by the quickly pounced on the rebound to score his second goal of the night.
The forward who was awarded Man of the Match continued from where he stopped in the second half by completing his hat-trick five minutes after the restart.
He calmly slotted a penalty past Japan goalkeeper after Umar was fouled in the box.
The forward got his fourth goal of the night, slotting the ball into an empty from 20-years after quickly getting on a poor clearance by Kushibiki.
Arsenal signing Takuma Asano finished off a great attacking play for Japan with his backheel to give hope to Japan.
In the fifth minute of injury, substitute Musashi Suzuki curled in his left footed shot into the corner to score Japan’s last goal.
The Dream Team will look to secure qualification with a win in their next game against Sweden on Sunday, August 7 while Japan play Colombia the same day.