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Rio Olympics: Germany beats Nigeria, advances to men’s soccer gold-medal match

Germany's players celebrate after Germany's Lukas Klostermann scored

Germany's players celebrate after Germany's Lukas Klostermann scored during a semifinal match of the men's Olympic soccer tournament between Germany and Nigeria in Sao Paulo, Wednesday Aug. 17, 2016. Photo Credit: AP / Leo Correa

SAO PAULO, Brazil — Lukas Klosertmann and Nils Peterson scored to send Germany into the Olympic gold-medal match for the first time with a 2-0 semifinal victory over Nigeria on Wednesday.

The Germans will play Brazil on Saturday at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. The stadium was the site of the country’s World Cup victory in 2014, a few days after the German senior team embarrassed Brazil 7-1 in the semifinals.

Brazil defeated Honduras 6-0 earlier in the day at Maracana to put the hosts in the final. Neymar scored a pair of goals.

Nigeria will face Honduras in the bronze medal match on Saturday in Belo Horizonte, about 275 miles to the north of Rio.

Klostermann scored in the ninth minute off a cross from captain Maximillian Meyer, beating fallen Nigerian goalkeeper Emmanuel Daniel.

Nigeria’s Jon Obi Mikel had a good chance in the 31st minute but was off the mark. Mikel, who plays for Chelsea, is one of the three senior players that Nigeria was able to add to the Olympic roster. The men’s tournament is played among under-23 teams.

Peterson charged in and directed Davie Selkie’s cross into the far corner in the 89th minute. It was Peterson’s sixth goal of the tournament.

Nigeria’s Olympic run received attention when the team’s arrival in Brazil was delayed by a flight mix-up until just hours before their opening match. But the team suffered a blow the final group match when star striker Oghenekaro Etebo was injured.

Nigeria won gold at the 1996 Olympics with a 3-2 victory over Argentina, then won silver in 2008, falling 1-0 to Argentina in the final.

Germany is playing in the Olympics for the first time since 1998, when U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann was on the team. Germany has the competition’s best attack with 21 goals. It eliminated Portugal 4-0 in the quarterfinals.

The German women’s national team is also playing in the gold medal match against Sweden on Friday, marking the first time a nation has had both its men and women in an Olympic soccer final.

Despite its travel woes, Nigeria finished first in its group before eliminating Denmark 2-0 in the quarterfinals.

New York Sports