Nigeria hold off Honduras' late rally to win men's soccer bronze medal

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil -- Sadiq Umar scored a pair of goals and Nigeria won the Olympic bronze medal by holding off Honduras 3-2 on Saturday at Mineirao Stadium.

It was Nigeria's third Olympic medal in men's soccer. The African nation won gold at the 1996 Atlanta Games with a 3-2 victory over Argentina. The team fell to Argentina in the final at the 2008 Beijing Games for the silver.

The medal was a reward for an Olympic tournament that got off to a rocky start. Nigeria's arrival in Brazil was delayed until just hours before the team's opening match because of a flight mix-up in Atlanta.

Honduras, which challenged with a pair of late goals, heads home from Brazil empty-handed, but the team's appearance in the bronze match was its best finish at the Olympics.

Brazil will play Germany in the gold-medal match later Saturday at the iconic Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

Sadiq Umar put Nigeria up 1-0, rushing in to slot a cross from John Obi Mikel in the 34th minute.

Aminu Umar added a goal in the 49th minute, burying the rebound after Mikel's hard shot bounced off Honduras goalkeeper Luis Lopez, before Sadiq Umar scored the third in the 56th minute.

Honduras attempted to rally as Antony Lozano scored with a header in the 71st minute, and Marcelo Pereira reduced the deficit to one with a header from a free kick with four minutes to play.

But the Central American nation could not find an equalizer and Nigeria celebrated a medal that seemed unlikely when the team was stranded in Atlanta just before the start of the tournament.

Players arrived in the jungle city of Manaus about six hours before their opening match against Japan. Nigeria then shook off its travel fatigue to beat Japan 5-4.

It was not the first time an African team had to make a last-minute flight for a high-profile match in Brazil. In 2014, Cameroon's World Cup team refused to board a plane to take them to Brazil because of a dispute over bonus payments for the tournament. Their national soccer federation took out a loan to meet their demands, and the team caught a later flight.