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‘Their best wasn’t good enough’ – Okocha blames Nigeria’s inexperience for Argentina defeat

22:58 BST 26/06/2018
Nigeria v. Argentina
The Super Eagles’ chances of progressing to the next round went up in flames after Marcos Rojo’s late effort secured maximum points for La Albiceleste

Ousted Nigeria were limited in experience and Argentina deserved to go through, according to ex-international Austin 'Jay Jay' Okocha.

A late sublime effort from Marcos Rojo broke the hearts of a resilient Super Eagles as La Albiceleste progressed through to the last 16 of the World Cup at their expense.

Lionel Messi had broken the deadlock for the South Americans in the first half but Victor Moses revived the Super Eagles' chances of qualification to the knockout stages after converting from the spot in the 51st minute.

But with less than three minutes of regulation time, the defender sliced a volley past Francis Uzoho to stun the West Africans and Okocha, who represented the country at the 1994, 1998 and 2002 editions of the quadrennial tourney blamed them for not converting their chances.

"Credit to Argentina, they threw the kitchen sink at it, and they deserved to win," Okocha told SuperSport.

"It (the penalty) was a gift by Mascherano, you wouldn't expect that from a man of that calibre, with his experience. We started the 2nd half better but what happens when you're on top is that you should continue to put them under more pressure but we let them off.

"If you want to be harsh on the Nigeria team is that we didn't capitalize, we didn't keep two or three players up there to hurt them. We were limited in terms of experience."

On Rojo’s winning effort for Jorge Sampaoli's men, the former Bolton Wanderers and PSG midfielder picked out Moses’ late reaction to close in on the Manchester United player.

"Poor defending there. We should've recognized to come in a good position at the time the cross came in. Moses acted late there. I can't fault the effort of the players, they gave their all but at the end of the day, it wasn't good enough.

Gernot Rohr's wards protested the VAR's decision after having another penalty decision went against them as Rojo headed Ahmed Musa’s cross onto his arm. But the former midfield maestro criticized striker Odion Ighalo for miscuing the resulting effort.

"Ighalo should've scored, or he should've at least worked the keeper," he opined.