FIFA Confederations Cup: Nigeria 6 Tahiti 1
By Football News
Nigeria kicked off their FIFA Confederations Cup campaign with a comfortable 6-1 victory despite a brave effort from Tahiti on Monday.
The tone of the match was set early on in Belo Horizonte as Nicolas Vallar's own goal gave Nigeria the lead after just five minutes.
When Nnamdi Oduamadi grabbed a brace inside the opening 30 minutes, a one-sided rout looked on the cards.
However, the island nation rallied in the second period, producing a vastly improved performance and scoring a historic goal through Jonathan Tehau in the 54th minute.
Their celebrations were admittedly short-lived, as a Jonathan Tehau own goal and strikes from Oduamadi and Uwa Echiejile added gloss to the scoreline for the Africans, but head coach Eddy Etaeta is sure to be proud of his side's efforts.
Tahiti named Alvin and Jonathan Tehau among their starting line-up, with their brother Lorenzo and cousin Teaonui starting the game on the bench.
Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi, meanwhile, picked John Obi Mikel and Efe Ambrose as part of a strong side despite the nature of the opposition.
The 2013 Africa Cup of Nations champions wasted no time in emphasising the gulf in class, as Uwa Echiejile's shot took two huge deflections - the latter from Vallar - before flying past a bamboozled Xavier Samin.
And Oduamadi ensured Nigeria took a healthy lead into the break as he finished coolly when played in one-on-one before a Samin error gifted him a second.
Tahiti got their moment of glory not long after the break, however, as Jonathan Tehau leapt highest to nod home a corner and spark jubilant scenes.
But the midfielder's elation was somewhat dampened 15 minutes later as he inadvertently turned the ball into his net from a Oduamadi cross.
The danger-man Oduamadi grabbed his hat-trick not long after, finishing off a simple chance presented by some poor defending from Tahiti.
And Echiejile completed the rout with 10 minutes remaining by capitalising on yet another mistake from the hapless Samin.
Jonathan Tehau had one more chance to etch his name into the history books with time running out, but failed to hit the target with the Nigerian defence all at sea.
Keshi's men now occupy second place in their group after Spain defeated Uruguay on Monday.
Tahiti will meet World and European champions Spain at the Maracana in Rio on Thursday.