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Angel flies to help Argentina defend Olympic title
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15:53, August 23, 2008


Angel Di Maria (#11) of Argentina makes a goal during the men's gold match of football event between Nigeria and Argentina at Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in the National Stadium, known as the Bird's Nest, in Beijing, China, Aug. 23, 2008. (Xinhua)


Defending champion Argentina repeated its victory in the final of men's soccer at Beijing Olympics on Saturday, as striker Angel Di Maria scored the only goal to help the team edge Nigeria to seal the title.

Watched by a crowd of 89,102, Di Maria, already having playing an answer man to matches in group stage, collected a through ball from Lionel Messi and calmly finished the clear shot on the 58th minute, claiming their two consecutive wins at Olympic men's soccer final as they were already crowned four years ago in Athens.

Messi and his Barcelona teammate Sergio Aguero were not given many chances to score as the Nigerian defenders tried hard to manmark the duo, which, however, also left much space for Di Maria to come up and break Nigeria's defense line.


Luciano Monzon (C-#3) of Argentina heads the ball during the men's gold match of football event between Nigeria and Argentina at Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in the National Stadium, known as the Bird's Nest, in Beijing, China, Aug. 23, 2008. Argentina beat Nigeria 1-0 and claimed the title in this event.(Xinhua Photo)


Messi earned himself a chance at the 77th minute when he stole the ball from Nigerian defender. Boosting up in speed, Messi struck his trademark left-footed shot which was eventually blocked away by Nigerian central defender Onyekachi Apam.

The Nigerians had quite a number of chances to even the score as Argentina gave up the middlefield after taking the lead. Striker Victor Obinna almost scored on 63rd minute from a right pass, but his shot was blocked by goalkeeper Sergio Romero with his body.

Nigeria's best chance came in a sudden flank attack when midfielder Ever Banega delivered a beautiful pass from the right side, but two of the Nigerian strikers, Peter Odemwingie and Emmanuel Ekpo, both charged into the area, failed to catch.


Ezequiel Garay (R) of Argentina vies for the ball during the men's gold match of football event between Nigeria and Argentina at Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in the National Stadium, known as the Bird's Nest, in Beijing, China, Aug. 23, 2008. Argentina beat Nigeria 1-0 and claimed the title in this event.(Xinhua Photo)


Source: Xinhua

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1 China 47 17 25 89
2 USA 31 36 35 102
3 Great Britain 18 13 13 44
4 Russia 17 18 22 57
5 Germany 14 9 13 36
6 Australia 12 14 16 42

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