Argentina starts off with a hard fought win over Bosnia-Herzegovina as Barcelona forward Lionel Messi produces a moment of magic.
Argentina came into this match as the clear favourites, but Bosnia-Herzegovina are a side capable of pulling out an upset and they did make Lionel Messi and Co work hard for the win in the end.
The match started according to the script with Argentina taking an early lead in the game. A free-kick from Lionel Messi on the left was unfortunately turned in by Bosnian left back Sead Kolasinac. But that was about as close as Argentina got to scoring in the first half as Bosnia held their shape and even troubled the Argentine defence at times on the break.
The South American nation, buoyed by a strong support at the legendary Maracana stadium, came out with a lot more purpose in the second half, but it took a moment of magic from Lionel Messi to extend their lead. The Barcelona forward made a one of those runs into the box with ball attached to his feet and riding challenges, before producing a left foot curler which hit the post and went in. It was his first World Cup goal in over eight years and one which he will cherish for a long time.
Credit to Bosnia-Herzegovina, they didn’t give up after conceding that goal and kept fighting till the end. Second half substitute Vedad Ibisevic pulled one back for them with finish through the legs of Sergio Romero and it made for an exciting finish in the end. But Argentina managed to hold on to the lead and get their World Cup campaign off to a winning start.
Despite the win, it was far from being a perfect display by Argentina and manager Alejandro Sabella accepted the lack of creativity in their gameplay last night.
“They were two different halves.
“In the first one I think we controlled the Bosnians well, but beyond that, we didn’t create the kind of depth that we managed in the second half. Obviously we need to improve.” – The Argentina manager said in his post-match interview.
He also accepted blame for this loss after his substitutions failed to make the right changes.
“It is true that we failed in parts, in part because of my own mistakes.” – Sabella added.
Lionel Messi was happy with the win, but insisted that they need to improve a lot on this performance.
“It was our first game, we are anxious and everything, Bosnia are a good team but we have a to do a lot to improve.
“The good thing is we got the three points and off to a winning start.” – Messi said.