Argentina successfully defend Olympic football title

Society Materials 23 August 2008 11:05 (UTC +04:00)

Argentina on Saturday successfully defended their Olympic football title when they beat Nigeria 1-0 in the gold medal match played in Beijing's Bird's Nest stadium, reported dpa.

A near capacity crowd of 89,000 saw the only goal of the game scored in the 58th minute by Benfica's Angel Di Maria, who had been brilliantly set up with a defence-splitting pass from Barcelona star Lionel Messi.

The 20-year-old midfielder ran virtually half the length of the pitch before coolly lobbing the ball over the onrushing Nigerian goalkeeper Ambrose Vanzekin.

Substitute Victor Anichebe nearly equalized for the Africans six minutes from the end after Victor Obinna crossed into the area, but the forward failed to fully connect from close range and Sergio Romero managed to save from point-blank range.

Although Nigeria pushed forward in the closing moments of the game in temperatures of 32 degrees, they failed to find the decisive breakthrough, allowing the South Americans to claim a second Olympic title in succession and avenge the defeat they suffered against Nigeria in the final of the 1996 Olympics.