Sweden tried to get in front early..... Henrik Larsson to
Marcus Allback, whose shot was deflected wide.... then Olof Mellberg tried a long range
shot that flew over the bar.
Nigeria's passing was disappointing too, with Celestine
Babayaro failing to get on the end of Jay-Jay Okocha's inviting cross.
-- GOAL -- 0-1
Nigeria must have watched the England vs Sweden video and
noticed that Magnus Hedman was weak at anticipating headers on high balls. Julius
Agahowa met the left wing cross to header past the flapping Hedman in the 27th
In celebration, Agahowa performed six successive backflips
and a high backward somersault to earn a 9.9 from the Olympic judges.
-- GOAL -- 1-1 Henrik Larsson equalised for Sweden eight minutes later, shaking off
Taribo West to cooly plant the ball past Ike Shoronmu.
Nigeria could have taken the lead again shortly after as
Jay-Jay Okocha ran through the Swedish defense and tried a shot from the left of the area.
Teddy Lucic kicked the ball away but it bounced off the late arriving Johan Mjallby and
back towards the goal...... saved only by the post.
Half-time: Sweden 1 -- Nigeria 1
Three minutes after the re-start, Hedman made amends by
catching Babayaro's high cross, that looked dangerously like another headed goal in the
Nigeria were reduced to ten men for a while, as Taribo West
received stitches on the sideline; after getting a cut above his left eye.
-- GOAL -- 2-1 Henrik Larsson scored his second goal, from the penalty spot, to put
Sweden in front in the 62nd minute.
A bandaged Taribo West returned to the pitch, with less
than hour to go, after changing his blood-spattered shirt.
Defeat here for Nigeria would mean elimination from the
tournament, so striker Nwankwo Kanu was brought on for defender Celestine Babayaro.
John Utaka almost equalised for Nigeria, with eight minutes
to go, but his shot was too soft and easily cleared off the line. A minute later, Joseph
Yobo crashed a shot against the post.
Kanu tried to chip Hedman in the last minute of normal
time, but it wasn't to be and Nigeria became the second team to be eliminated from the
2002 World Cup -- after Saudi Arabia.