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November 27, 2014
Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Improved Argentina fired by Messi to finish at Group F summit

rgentina''s forward and captain Lionel Messi places the ball for a free-kick from which he scored during the Group F football match between Nigeria and Argentina at the Beira-Rio Stadium in Porto Alegre.
Argentina captain Lionel Messi scored twice and Marcos Rojo poked home in Porto Alegre  to give the Albiceleste a 3-2 World Cup win over Nigeria, putting the nation top of Group F with a perfect nine points.

Ahmed Musa had kept the Africans in the game with two instant replies to Messi's strikes, but Nigeria were finally kept down when the skipper's corner was headed by Ezequiel Garay into the path of Rojo, who diverted the ball into the net off his knee.

Needing an impressive display to silence critics following two close wins over Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iran, Alejandro Sabella's men could not have asked for a better start. Ángel Di Maria blasted down the left wing and found space after just two minutes, and smashed towards goal.

Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama somehow managed to keep the initial shot out, but he was powerless to stop Messi who followed up the rebound, hitting his third of the tournament as well as the fastest of his professional career.

Argentina, however, barely had time to finish celebrating before Musa pegged them back, slicing through a flimsy backline to level a matter of seconds after the opener.

The Albiceleste pushed hard to get back on top, enjoying several clear chances including a Messi free-kick that was acrobatically saved by Enyeama. The goalkeeper, however, could do nothing with 'La Pulga's' second dead-ball attempt, that curled into the corner of the net to put his side 2-1 ahead at half-time.

Again Musa dragged the Super Eagles level, converting a fluid one-two that again left the defence flat-footed. But Messi would have the last laugh, setting up Rojo for what would prove to be the winner before being taken off for a deserved rest by Sabella.

The Albiceleste therefore advance into the second round with three wins out of three so far, at the top of Group F. They will face the second place team in Group E in the last-16. Nigeria also qualify for the next phase, thanks to Bosnia's 3-1 win over Iran played at the same time.
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Tags:  Argentina  Nigeria  World Cup  Porto Alegre  Messi  





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