The Germans were the better side on the better team on the night in Sao Paulo as they defeated the African champions who will now settle for a bronze medal match.
Germany edged their way to a gold medal match against Brazil as they defeated Nigeria 2-0 at the Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo on Wednesday.

It was a rude ending to the fairytale run of Samson Siasia’s team who were hoping to emulate their compatriots of Atlanta ’96 in the search for a second Olympic title.

Hampered by the continued unavailability of star forward Oghenekaro Etebo and the suspension of midfield impresario Okechukwu Azubuike, Nigeria struggled against a more compact German side whose fleet-footed forwards picked their way around their opponents almost with abandon.

Their forays into the Nigeria box paid off early as defender Lukas Klostermann found free space in the box to tap in a Max Meyer cross for their opening goal.

Lukas Klostermann celebrates with teammates after opening the scoring in the 9th minute

The Nigerians, stunned by the early deficit, picked themselves up and went in search of the equalizer albeit with the fear of being left open at the back.

Their first opportunity came moments later when goalkeeper Timo Horn’s poor clearance gifted Sadiq Umar an opportunity to score but he shot straight back at the goalkeeper leaving captain John Obi Mikel begging.

The Germans continued to use the flanks to penetrate the Nigerian defence and looked dangerous during every move forward without the cutting edge to finish it early.

Nigeria got their best opportunity to get even when Mikel found himself inside the box after some nice footwork that left one defender for dead but his final shot was blocked by the well-timed lunge of defender Matthias Ginter.

Umar Aminu missed a key opportunity to put Nigeria equal in first half stoppage time but Ginter was once again alert to Sadiq’s square pass and hit it out for a corner kick.

The Germans returned to the second half the more purposeful in attack but would find the Nigerian central defensive pair of William Troost-Ekong and Seth Sincere a tougher nut to crack.

Coach Samson Siasia brought on Junior Ajayi and Saliu Popoola in the search for a goal but failed to create clear chances despite the cheering that followed every touch of the ball by the diminutive midfielder.

Nigeria’s best chance came on the 80th minutes when Stanley Amuzie hit a fee kick wide from just outside the Germany goal after Ajayi had been brought down by Ginter.

Moments after coming on as a substitute for Meyer, Nils Petersen got onto the end of a Davie Selke cross to put it beyond the Nigerians to give his country their first ever opportunity to win a gold medal in the Olympic’s men event.

Nils Petersen scores to make it 2-0 for Germany

Germany head into Sunday’s final against Brazil at the Maracana Stadium to renew their rivalry following the demolition at the World Cup two years ago. Meanwhile, Nigeria will face Honduras in the match for the bronze medal.

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Conte and Chelsea got their 2016/2017 Premier League campaign off to a winning start after seeing off Westham 2-1 late at Stamford Bridge with Eden Hazard and Diego Costa on the score sheet. 

After a cagey and closed first half that ended goalless, life was breathed into the game when Hazard netted from the spot in the 47th minute after Michel Antonio had fouled Cesar Azpilicueta inside the box. However, a rare well-timed James Collins’ left-footed strike from 16 yards did pull level terms with 13 minutes left to play, but it was Diego Costa who had the last say on the fiesty contest with his 89th minute long range strike from 20 yards sending the home crowd delirious. Costa could have perhaps been sent off before his goal having been involved in a mistimed lunge on Wertham’s keeper Adrian, but it was the ref’s controversial decision not to book him for a second time that kept him on the pitch which was perhaps much to the delight of Chelsea supporters and dismay for Westham.

After much preseason work and despite a lack of transfer activity during this season’s transfer window, Chelsea remain a force in the top flight. They will be hoping to put last season’s dismal 10th place finish under former boss Jose Mourinho behind them and start a new era led by new boss ‘Conte’. Chelsea have however managed to lure French midfielder N’golo Kante from the reigning champions Leicester City and also added Belgian Mitchy Batshuayi from Marseille to their ranks, but its the former who shone brightest in his debut match against Westham on Monday and the latter was brought on as a substitute. Cesc Fabregas was left out of the starting lineup, a decision made by Conte which somewhat raised eyebrows over the Fabregas’ future in the club, with the Spaniard himself scared of losing his place in the team and is believed to be seeking a move away. Real Madrid, Juventus and PSG have all been touted as possible destinations.

But despite the lack of transfer activity with two weeks left of the current window compared to big spenders like both Manchester clubs, Chelsea can’t be written off the market just yet, anything can happen! Recently the club are being linked to moves for Napoli’s highly rated Senegalese centre back Kalidou Koulibaly, FC Köln’s Jonas Hector, PSG’s Blaise Matuidi, Roma’s Radja Naingolan, Real Madrid’s Jame Rodriguez and Everton’s forward Romelu Lukaku. Koulibaly and Lukaku have been linked to the club for much of the window, but anything about agreeing a deal with their respective clubs are far from reality for now, given that the club is put off by the high fees each of them command.

However, Antonio Conte has highlighted right from the beginning since he took over the helm at Stamford Bridge, that at least a new center back is needed to strengthen the ageing back line, a strong holding central midfielder and a central forward which would partner Costa or replace him in his preferred 4-2-4 and 4-4-2 formations, especially if he is sold. Costa has been heavily linked with a return to Atletico Madrid all summer but he has brushed off those claims by insisting he’s happy at Chelsea. Conte has been described as a very brilliant coach and tactical genius capable of transforming teams, so much is expected of him. Whether or not Chelsea wins the Premier League title come the end of May is not the club’s target for now, but to qualify for Champions League football next season and probably a 4th place finish would please owner Roman Abramovich.

See photos below:

GETTY IMAGES: Eden Harzard nets from the penalty spot in the 47th minute to open the scoring

GETTY IMAGES: Eden Harzard celebrates after giving Chelsea the lead from the penalty spot

GETTY IMAGES: Diego Costa celebrates after scoring the winning goal for Chelsea

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