Angel di Maria came through for Argentina at the Olympics _ again.
Di Maria scored a 58th-minute winner Saturday to give Argentina a 1-0 victory over Nigeria in the final Saturday, adding to the crucial goal he had scored in the team's extra-time victory against the Netherlands in the quarterfinals.
"I didn't dream of scoring in the final," the 20-year-old Di Maria said. "But I'm happy that I was able to get the ball in and that in the end we got what we wanted."
Di Maria received a pass from Lionel Messi near midfield and charged toward the penalty area before striking a lob shot over Nigeria goalkeeper Ambruse Vanzekin.
"I didn't think the ball was going to go in, it took forever," Di Maria said. "But I'm glad that in the end it did and that the goal helped us win the gold."
Just before halftime, he had almost opened the scoring with a 30-meter (yard) shot that was barely saved by Vanzekin. He also had chances in the second half before finally getting the winner.
Di Maria had scored a 105th-minute crucial goal against the Netherlands on Aug. 16, fighting off a defender before rolling the ball past the goalkeeper and inside the far post.
He also played well in the team's 3-0 routing against Brazil in the semifinals last Tuesday, helping keep Argentina alive in its quest to become the first back-to-back Olympic champion since Hungary in 1964 and 1968.
But the striker wasn't even a starter in the beginning of the competition and was on the bench for the team's first two games, when Ezequiel Lavezzi got to start. Di Maria came in as a substitute in both matches, and by Argentina's third game he had secured a place as a starter.
"I'm glad I got the opportunity to be among the starting 11 and that I took advantage of the chance I had," the Benfica player said. "Hopefully I will continue on the team from now on."
Argentina will now focus on World Cup qualifiers in September.
In addition to the titles in China and Athens, Argentina won the silver medal at the 1996 Atlanta Games and at the 1928 Amsterdam Games.