Confederations Cup 2013: Nigeria’s Oduamadi praises Tahiti spirit

Confederations Cup 2013: Nigeria's hat-trick hero Nnamdi Oduamadi praise Tahiti's spirited display in a 6-1 loss

Tahiti
1
Nigeria
6

Nnamdi Oduamadi praised Tahiti’s spirited performance after Nigeria were restricted to a 6-1 victory by the Group B minnows.

A hat-trick from Oduamadi, Uwe Echiejile’s double and a Jonathan Tehau own-goal helped extend their unbeaten run to 18 games against opponents ranked 107 places below them.

Preparation was from ideal for the Nigerian players as they only arrived in Brazil on Sunday morning – due to a dispute over bonus payments – but fatigue didn’t seem to affect the outcome as they swept aside the Oceania Nations Cup winners.

“Tahiti came out to fight like lions,” said Oduamadi.

“It was a little bit difficult to up our game. You know you’re playing against a team where, with the greatest respect to Tahiti, you think everything’s easy.

“They showed us that they can play football.”

Despite making a strong impression in the first ten minutes, Eddy Etaeta’s men found themselves two goals down.

First, Echiejile’s long-range effort took a pair of deflections, the latter off Nicholas Vallar, before Oduamadi calmly tapped home to double the advantage.

The majority of the 20,000-strong crowd inside the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte was supporting the Tahitians, ranked 138th in the world, as they cheered every attacking movement by the underdogs.

Stephen Keshi’s team made it 3-0 on 26 minutes as Tahiti keeper Xavier Samin’s fumble allowed AC Milan forward Oduamadi to convert into the empty net.

As half-time approached, Tahiti had a chance to get their names on the score-sheet but Ricky Aitamai’s header went wide of the mark, after good work from Steevy Chong Hue.

They didn’t have to wait very long for the special moment in their footballing folklore as it came with just nine minutes of the second period.

A teasing corner was delivered into the box and Tehau, one of the family quartet who are part of the squad, out-jumped Celtic defender Efe Ambrose to head past the helpless Vincent Enyeama.

This was followed by an entertaining celebration as the players gave a nod to the country’s national sport of canoe racing.

With just one professional player in their ranks, the gap in fitness and class was beginning to really take its toil on Etaeta’s team.

While Nigeria missed a raft of opportunities to put further gloss on the scoreline, a trio of strikes followed to truly put the game beyond the reach of their opponents.

Tehau went from hero to villain as he turned into his own net before Oduamadi and Echiejille added further goals to their personal tallies.

The next round of games come on Thursday when world and European Champions Spain take on Tahiti with the Super Eagles facing Uruguay.

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