Oghenekaro Etebo was the star of the night scoring four goals as Nigeria defeated Japan 5-4 in a thrilling, encounter in the second match of Group B at the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament Rio 2016.
The Nigerian squad eventually landed in Manaus at 2:19 p.m. on Thursday afternoon, with the game against Japan beginning at 9 p.m.
Sadiq Umar put Nigeria ahead just five minutes in, before Shinzo Koroki equalized moments later from the penalty spot. Oghenakaro Etobo put the African side back in front, only for Takumi Minamino to again make things all square.
But when Etebo put Nigeria back in front after 41 minutes the tone was set. Etebo completed his hat trick after 50 minutes, calmly slotting home his fourth to make it 5-2 on 65 minutes.
There was still time for some late drama though, as Nigerian legs, not surprisingly, faded late. Takuma Asano pulled one back with 20 minutes to go, and Musashi Suzuki narrowed the gap to one deep into injury time.
However, Nigeria’s night of glory was completed seconds later when the referee blew for full-time, finishing off a remarkable, and exhausting day for a team whose plight captured international attention and sympathy.