The Argentina national football Team begun their 2010 World Cup campaign on a good note with a consistent display against the Nigeria National football team whom they beat 1-0 in the second Group B match played at Johannesburg – JEP stadium.
Though the Argentinians were far from superb overall, they managed to outplay and outmatch the Super Eagles of Nigeria from the onset and it wasn’t long before their efforts showed on the score line.
The Argentinians dictated their ambitions with an early goal in the 6th minute when Defender Gabriel HEINZE headed in the corner past Nigeria keeper Vincent ENYEAMA. The Nigerian experienced custodian who plays his club football with Hapoel Tel-Aviv in Israeli had to be at his best to stop a super effort from Argentina key forward Lionel MESSI towards the end of the 1st half, and again in the 82nd minute when Messi was clear to score and Enyeama produced the save of match.
Though he had his shining moments, Lionel MESSI’s threat was kept to minimal by the Nigerian left back Taye TAIWO who trades his professional football at Marseille in France. Nigerian captain Joseph YOBO was also exceptional in his defense at this Saturday match and showed why he continues to be a major man at English Premiership side Everton.
While the Argentinians played stable and superb passes, the Nigerian defense was able to keep them at reasonable bay and the Nigerians had their own superb displays, giving further evidence why they are the only African team to have reached the last 16 of the Word Cup twice in 1994 and 1998.
Nigerian Coach Lars LAGERBACK brought on Obafemi MARTINS in the early hours of the second half to increase the striking force upfront to partner Yakubu AIYEGBENI and Chinedu OGBUKE OBASI and they did put more pressure on the Argentinians. Even the introduction of Lokomotiv Moscow striker Peter ODEMWINGIE didn’t give the Super Eagles match leverage to change the score line although they kept the Argentinians on their toes up to the end of the 4 added minutes.
Argentina who have lifted the World cup twice in 1978 and 1986 stood their ground and managed to secure a win that makes them joint Group B leaders with Korea Republic who beat Greece 2-0 in the earlier Group B match played at Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth stadium.
The Nigerians will be very concerned with the loss of key defender Taye TAIWO who was replaced by midfielder Kalu UCHE after he injured his foot in one of Nigeria’s best attempt at goal in the 72nd minute. Uhce wasted Nigeria’s good chance to make matters even when he split the ball wide while Martins had Nigeria’s best chance when his powerful shot in the 78th minutes was parted by the Argentine keeper Diego POZO.
Nigeria will still fancy their chances as they face reasonably lesser opponents in Greece and Korea Republic but they will need to find their scoring form in both two Group B matches to be able to qualify to the last 16.
See Results of matches so far played at FIFA 2010 World Cup
Argentina 1-0 Nigeria
Nigeria Vs Nigeria MATCH OFFICIALS
Referee: Wolfgang Stark (Germany)
Assistants: Jan-Hendrik Salver & Mike Pickel (both Germany)
Fourth official: Khalil Al Ghamdi (Saudi Arabia)