Nigeria book last-four date
© Foto-net

Nigeria won the battle of Africa 2-0 against Côte d'Ivoire in Qinhuangdao to book their place in the final four of the Men's Olympic Football Tournament.

These two African teams knew each other incredibly well and, as a result, both sides cancelled each other out in the opening 45 minutes. The midfield battle was a stalemate which made chances difficult to come by and, indeed, there were only three genuine opportunities in the first half for the fans to get excited about.

With just seconds on the clock, Peter Odemwingie raced clear, but lacked composure, blasting a shot high and wide of the target. Then Victor Obinna supplied Ebenezer Ajilore, who scuffed a shot wide.

However, on the stroke of half-time, an Obinna pass led to the opening goal of the game. Receiving the ball in space, the midfielder broke quickly and threaded it to the onrushing Odemwingie, who struck a glorious first-time shot which flew past the dive of Vincent Angban and into the net.

A mix-up in the Ivorian defence almost presented Nigeria a chance to score a second shortly after the restart, but after settling down, the Elephants began to play their best football of the match. Salomon Kalou dragged a shot wide from close range, while Emmanuel Kone's well-hit free-kick was well saved by Ambruse Vanzekin.

Côte d'Ivoire were averaging a good chance every ten minutes and in the 71st minute, Gervinho was unlucky to see a powerful drive turned around the post. Nigeria's pace was always likely to see them create chances and Sani Kaita went close with a right-footed drive which crept just wide.

Then, as time ticked away and Chinedu Ogbuke Obasi went sprinting clear, Ivorian No4 Souleymane Bamba brought him down with a clumsy challenge inside the box, and referee Masoud Moradi had no option but to point to the spot. Up stepped captain Obinna and he made no mistake, blasting the ball into the top-right corner of the net, prompting wild celebrations from the members of Dream Team IV.

The goal knocked the stuffing out of Côte d'Ivoire, who failed to carve out a noteworthy opportunity in the remaining eight minutes. And so it was that at the final whistle, the Nigerians danced in celebration while the Elephants sank to their knees. Samson Siasia's side now go on to meet Belgium in the semi-finals in Shanghai, while Gili's men will return home tomorrow.