Argentina wins won their match against Nigeria to remain at the top of Group F as Lionel Messi scores a wonderful brace.
Argentina finished the group stage with nine points and will now face Switzerland in the round of 16, who finished second in group E after a convincing win over Honduras in their match last night. Despite the loss, Nigeria have also qualified for the next round as Iran lost their match against Bosnia-Herzegovina, and will now face Group E winners France in the next round.
Argentina made a flying start to the match as Lionel Messi provided them the lead in the 3rd minute. Angel Di Maria’s initial shot hit the post and fell kindly for the Barcelona forward, who volleyed it into the roof of the net. But Nigeria responded to that goal immediately and Ahmed Musa scored with a lovely curling shot from the left to draw level.
The match settled down after that blistering start with Argentina controlling possession. Alejandro Sabella’s men took the lead once again just before the half-time break when Lionel Messi completed his brace from a delicious free-kick, which kept Vincent Enyeama rooted to his ground.
But just like the first goal, Nigeria responded immediately at the start of the second half as Musa scored once again to restore parity. But the Super Eagles’ joy was short lived as three minutes later Marcos Rojo scored his first international goal for Argentina with a neat little finish after the ball reached him from a corner.
Despite numerous efforts from both the teams for the rest of the match, that goal proved to be the winner in the end. But results elsewhere meant that both the sides qualified for the next round.
Alejandro Sabella was happy with the improvements his team showed in this game. The defence remains a big concern for the Argentina manager, but he was pleased how the attack came together and performed well in this game.
“Nigeria are a versatile team, but they were not as aggressive when they occupy the spaces.
“We started improving from the point of view of structure. We see an improvement as a whole. I don’t like speaking about individuals.
“The strikers played a better game this time. The weakness we discuss at home in private.
“You can win not playing well and still have things to correct, I’m pleased about the nine points but I must always improve.” – Sabella said in his post-match interview.