• Nigeria to face host Senegal for Rio ticket

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    JOHANNESBURG: Nigeria could only draw 0-0 with Group B winners Algeria in Dakar and must face hosts Senegal in the semifinals of the African 2016 Olympic Games qualifying tournament.

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    With a ticket to Rio at stake next Wed-nesday, Nigeria would have preferred Group A runners-up South Africa, a country they traditionally dominate at all levels of football.

    Instead, tournament surprise side Algeria will face the South Africans in the second part of a Dakar double-header.

    The semi-finals winners, and the winners of the third-place play-off three days later, qualify for the 2016 Olympics.

    Already-eliminated Mali upset 11-time qualifiers Egypt 1-0 in the other Group B game with a Mahmoud Handy own-goal on 19 minutes proving decisive.

    Algeria and Nigeria finished with five points each in what was considered the tougher of the two mini-leagues. Mali collected three points and Egypt two.

    The superior goal difference of the Algerians—plus two against plus one—enabled them to top Nigeria.

    Algeria are seeking only a second appearance at the Games, 35 years after reaching the 1980 quarter-finals in Moscow.

    Nigeria have been the most successful African country at Olympic football tournaments, winning gold in Atlanta (1996) and silver in Beijing (2008).

    Senegal (2012) and South Africa (2000) have qualified once each for a competition restricted to under-23 footballers at the qualifying stage with three over-age stars per team permitted at the finals.

    AFP

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