Nigeria, Cameroon in quarters

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

BEIJING - Nigeria and Cameroon have qualified for the quarterfinals of the men's football tournament in the Olympics after registering contrasting results in their third matches of the event.

Nigeria beat the United States 2-1 in a Group B match at the Workers Stadium, yesterday, ending their campaign, while Cameroon drew 0-0 with Italy in Group B at Tianjin Olympic Centre Stadium.

The Americans lost Michael Orozco in the opening minutes of the match after the defender deliberately elbowed Solomon Okoronkwo in the third minute.

Despite the setback the USA's remaining defenders managed to keep the Nigerian forwards at bay for most of the match.

Their resistance finally crumbled when Okoronkwo scored the opener for Samson Siasia's side and Victor Obinna claimed the second 11 minutes from time.

Sacha Kljestan pulled one back for the Americans in the 87th minute.

Cameroon also finished their match with 10 men after the sending off of George Mandjeck in the 32nd minute.

The two African giants are yet to taste defeat since the event kicked off last week.

Nigeria drew 0-0 with Holland in their opening match last Thursday, while Cameroon and South Korea's opener ended in a 1-1 stalemate. Cameroon pipped Honduras 1-0 on Sunday and Nigeria drew 0-0 with Japan.

Said Nigerian forward Victor Anichebe: "This match was harder than we thought. They even hit the bar near the end and they were good despite being reduced to 10 men very early. We missed many chances but we are getting better with each game. We need to improve in front of goal."

Said Cameroon midfielder Frank Songoo: "At the beginning we wanted to win the game and get [the] three points but after we got the red card we stayed defensive. If Italy had scored, it would have been hard for us to qualify."

Fellow quarterfinalists Brazil thrashed China 3-0.