Nigeria’s men’s soccer team made an extraordinary start to its Olympic campaign, beating Japan 5-4 in Manaus on Thursday just hours after landing in Brazil following a nerve-wracking travel mix-up.
The team was stranded in Atlanta for days amid a bizarre saga that saw flights cancelled because of missed payments and because a plane was too small, before eventually taking off on the morning of the game.
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.
However, despite what would seem to be the worst kind of preparation, Nigeria produced an inspired display to sink Japan. The contest was evenly matched in the opening stages, with honors remaining even following a frantic opening burst that produced four goals in 10 minutes.