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  • September 6, 2011
  • • 9:00 AM
  • • Bangabandhu National Stadium, Dhaka
  • Referee: T. Shamsuzzaman

Argentina 3-1 Nigeria: Higuain & Di Maria on target in battling Albiceleste victory

Argentina 3-1 Nigeria: Higuain & Di Maria on target in battling Albiceleste victory


The Real Madrid pair both hit the net in a tough clash against the determined Africans, who almost got back in the game during a much-improved second half

An accomplished performance by Argentina saw it overcome Nigeria 3-1 in Dhaka, although a revival by its rival made the victory less comfortable than it first appeared.

Gonzalo Higuain and Angel Di Maria capitalized on excellent attacking play in the first half to put the South Americans ahead, before an own goal by the Super Eagles extinguished hopes revived momentarily by Chinedu Obasi's strike.

There were few chances in the first 45, but Argentina took them with class. The scoreline was opened with 24 minutes on the clock, Higuain latching on to a perfect pass by Lionel Messi to blast past the keeper and put Argentina in the ascendancy.

Nigeria barely had time to return the ball to the center circle before the advantage was doubled. Messi was once more at the heart of the action, as he carved open the defense with a spectacular slaloming run. Aiyenugba denied the Barcelona star, but Di Maria was on hand to poke in the rebound for a goal that without doubt belonged to the inspired 'Pulga'.

The second period had barely begun when Nigeria gave itself a fighting chance. Defensive hesitance from Argentina allowed John Obi Mikel the ball, and he cut back well to tee up Chinedu Obasi for the Africans' first. Ahmed Musa then fired just wide of the post, as the Super Eagles strived to put themselves back in the game.

Just when it looked like Nigeria was back in to the game, however, Higuain was on the hand to restore the difference. The Real Madrid man picked up a neat pass from Di Maria, and after his first effort was saved he forced Uwa Elderson to turn the ball into his own net. The goal did not discourage Samson Siasia's team though, and they continued to push forward against an Argentina team looking far more withdrawn from the first 45.

The scoreline refused to budge and both teams were happy to play out the remaining minutes and settle for a 3-1 triumph in favor of the South Americans.

Coach Alejandro Sabella will be content with the win over a feisty opponent, although there will be some concerns over the loss of rhythm in the second half. Nigeria meanwhile can take heart from how they rallied from a dire situation, making life difficult for the Albiceleste when lesser sides would have crumbled.

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