On this day in 2008, Argentina’s football team won their second consecutive Olympic gold by defeating Nigeria 1-0 in Beijing Olympics. Winger Angel di Maria scored the only goal of the match. It was Argentina’s and Nigeria’s second meeting in a Gold Medal match. They previously met in 1996 final which Nigeria won 3-2, with Emmanuel Amuneke scoring the injury time winner for the Super Eagles.
In 2000 Olympics, Argentina failed to qualify, however, a breathtaking comeback in the following edition – 2004 – as they went on to defeat their Copa America rivals Paraguay in the final. Entering into the defending tournament, Argentina got off to a flyer, winning all three of their group stage games. Heading to the quarterfinal, Argentina had Netherlands at their disposal. The La Albiceleste defeated the Dutch with Di Maria scoring the extra-time winner. Nigeria, on the other hand, defeated Ivory Coast.
Semi-final was a rather easy encounter for both the sides as Nigeria easily defeated Belgium 4-1, while Argentina disposed an all-confident Brazilian team with Sergio Aguero scoring a brace. The final was played at the National Stadium in Beijing in front of 89,000 spectators. Both the teams played the game in 42° C temperature. It was so tiring that the officials had to stop the game twice so that the players could rehydrate.
The duo of Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero wasn’t allowed even an inch of space by the Nigerian defence, however, they couldn’t minimized Angel Di Maria’s threat. It took near to an hour to finally break the deadlock after Angel Di Maria’s cheeky finish found the back of the net. The Winger scored his second goal of the tournament and gave his team the second consecutive Olympic Gold.