Nigeria make last 16

June 25, 2014 at 8:11 pm
Posted under: 2014 FIFA World Cup, Argentina, Argentina News, News, Nigeria, Nigeria News

Nigeria's Ahmed Musa celebrates his goal during the 2014 World Cup Group F soccer match against Argentina at the Beira Rio stadium in Porto Alegre June 25, 2014, REUTERS
Nigeria's Ahmed Musa celebrates his goal during the 2014 World Cup Group F soccer match against Argentina at the Beira Rio stadium in Porto Alegre June 25, 2014, REUTERS

Nigeria faced Argentina at Estadio Beira-Rio in the city of Porto Alegre – needing a draw or for Iran to be denied victory in their game – to assure their qualification into the second round. Argentina finished the game 3-2 winners and the Africans went through as runners up.

The match started on an explosive note as the South Americans found the opener in the second minute through star forward Lionel Messi after he pounced on a loose ball that rebounded on the left goal post from an Angel Di Maria shot.

The Nigerians responded 80 seconds later when forward Ahmed Musa scored from a counter-attack.

The Nigerians didn’t show their opponents any respect as they attacked with force, with striker Emmanuel Emenike pressurising an Argentine defence that didn’t command as much respect as their attackers. Nigeria’s Juwon Oshaniwa and Peter Odemwingie floated in crosses but never tested the Argentine keeper.

Di Maria had more than three shots on target testing Vincent Enyeama who kept punching and blocking his shots. Sergio Aguero was substituted in the middle of the first half after suffering from what appeared to be a muscle injury, this saw the introduction of PSG forward Ezequiel Lavezzi.

Argentina won a free-kick just before half-time which Messi took. The shot was heading for the top-corner but was punched away for a corner by Enyeama. Nigeria carelessly gave away another free-kick outside of the penalty box which Messi took and scored to make him joint top goal scorer with Neymar on four goals, giving the South Americans a lead heading into the break.

Early moments of the second half were similar to that of the first as Musa scored Nigeria’s equalizer and his brace in the 47th minute, putting them on equal terms with Argentina. But like the first half, the scoring team’s defence was vulnerable moments after their goal. Argentine defender Marcos Rojo scored his team’s third goal through a header just two minutes after the Africans had scored.

The game went on with both teams attacking each other, even after Messi was substituted to give him a rest. But the result remained the same making Nigeria the first African team to qualify for the last 16 at this World Cup.

Bonginkosi Tiwane

 


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