Messi magic trumps Nigeria as both teams go through to the second roundTwo first half goals by Lionel Messi set Argentina up for a comfortable victory, admirably support by Real Madrid winger Angel di Maria. Argentina opened the scoring with Messi knocking in a rebound from a Di Maria blocked strike. Nigeria level immediately after however, with a counter attack leading to a goal for the ever improving 21 year old Ahmed Musa.
The match started to settle after that, with a dogged display from Mascherano in midfield saw Nigeria struggle for rhythm, while a superb free kick minutes before half time from Lionel Messi saw the Argentines take a 2 – 1 lead into the break.
Shortly after the break, Musa equalised again after some neat interplay with Emmanuel Emenike and a shot into the left hand corner. A poorly defended corner by Nigeria some minutes later saw fullback Marcos Rojo knee the ball into the back of the net, to give Argentina the lead.
Argentina continued to threaten, but were denied on several occasions by Vincent Enyeama who was at his eccentric best. Nigeria’s main outlet of attack came on the counter, and while the Argentine back four lacks pace, they were more than capable of halting these attacks.
The win sees Argentina top Group F, with Bosnia’s comfortable 3 – 1 victory over Iran sending Nigeria through, who will now face a France side that is gelling, while Argentina face off against Switzerland.