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Argentina
1
 
0
Nigeria
G. Heinze  6' 1-0 
HT: 1-0
Ellis Park (Attendance: 55,686)
Referee: Wolfgang Stark
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Argentina vs. Nigeria
Minute Commentary
96' FULL-TIME
The game of the tournament so far saw Argentina pick up three points against Nigeria. Maradona's side were in terrific form going forward and could have scored a hatful, missing a number of chances and coming up against a keeper in inspired form in the Super Eagles' Enyeama. For all of their dominance in attack, Argentina were torn apart at times by a limited Nigeria side, and will need to improve defensively if they are to survive against more clinical teams.
95' THE WHISTLE GOES
Wolfgang Stark blows his whistle for the final time to confirm a 1-0 win for Argentina.
92' NERVES ARE JANGLING
Argentina should be home and hosed by now, but Nigeria are still in with a chance of grabbing a late goal and you can see the South Americans getting tense.
90' DANCING FEET
Messi and Milito link up well to put the former through into the box, but Kaita gets in a timely touch and prevents a shot on goal.
88' CLEVER SKILL
Martins flicks the ball behind him on the edge of the box and almost unlocks the Argentina defence, only for Samuel to nick a toe onto the ball and clear the danger.
87' ANOTHER POOR BALL
Odemwingie is picked out well on the left, but fails to find a team-mate in the box with time to get in a decent cross. The substitute has repeatedly got himself into good positions but has failed to produce any sort of quality.
85' CHANGE FOR SUBSTITUTION
Di Maria is replaced by defender Burdisso as Argentina try and shut up shop.
83' OVER THE BAR
The ball drops to Uche in space in the box but he can't get over the bouncing ball and puts his effort over the bar. What a chance for Nigeria to grab an equaliser! This game is really opening up and there could be goals at either end.
82' KEEPER TO THE RESCUE
Messi is clean through on the inside left. He has scored countless goals from that position, but can't beat the in-form Enyeama as another chance goes begging.
80' LIKE FOR LIKE
Real Madrid's Higuain makes way for Inter Milan's treble-winning hero Milito as Argentina show off their incredible strength in depth in attack.
79' FIZZING SHOT
Martins could have slipped in Odemwingie, but opts to shoot and forces the keeper to make a change. The ball rebounds to the winger, but he fails to get a decent cross in with numbers waiting.
78' ANOTHER WASTE
Uche's poor control brings an end to a flowing Nigeria move as they looked to hit Argentina on the break. They had numbers up in support and that was a real shame.
77' YELLOW CARD
Haruna picks up a booking for a late challenge on Messi.
76' DIRECTLY BEHIND
Haruna curls a corner straight out of play as Nigeria waste another opportunity to get the ball into the box.
75' NIGERIA CHANGE
Taiwo picked up an injury when firing in that shot moments ago and has been replaced by Uche.
74' SUBSTITUTION
Veron makes way for Rodriguez as the manager opts to give the veteran's tiring legs a rest.
71' JUST, JUST WIDE!!!
Taiwo drills in a shot that evades Romero but also the far post. There were millimetres in that and the Nigerians in the crowd crank up the volume another notch.
67' WHAT A WASTE!
Odemwingie had time on the break to make space to shoot or cross for Yakubu in the box, however the winger loses control of the ball and runs it out of play. That was the best chance of the game for Nigeria to carve out a golden opportunity and the sub will be disappointed with his effort. He, of course, attempts to blame someone else.
66' ANOTHER TOP SAVE
Enyeama pulls off another decent stop to deny Higuain's low driven shot across goal. The keeper has been the star man for his side so far.
65' SHOULD HAVE SCORED
Nigeria commit numbers forward and get caught four on two on the break. Tevez opts for a pass to Messi, but his shot curls late and goes just wide of the post.
64' MARTINS DROPS DEEP
Substitute Martins has been dropping off Yakubu in the hole since coming on, and Argentina haven't dealt with the threat.
62' FREE-KICK IN THE CORNER
Nigeria have cranked up the pressure and earn another chance to get the ball into the box as Demichelis drags down Yakubu in the corner.
60' CLEVER CHANGE
Ogbuke Obasi, who has run himself into the ground, makes way for the lightening-quick Odemwingie. The sub will surely cause Gutierrez all sorts of problems.
59' CALM IN POSSESSION
Veron has been superb on the ball and has kept Argentina's attacking ticking over, despite being asked to play in a slightly strange position on the inside right channel.
56' TERRIFIC CHALLENGE
Di Maria does fantastically well to keep the ball in by the corner flag and plays a raking ball that almost puts Higuain through on the keeper. However, a last-gasp challenge by Yobo keeps the Madrid man at bay.
55' PROBLEMS OUT WIDE
Once again it's the two full-back positions that cause Argentina problems and Ogbuke Obasi's cross almost finds a team-mate just yards out.
53' CHANGE FOR NIGERIA
Martins replaces Obinna as Lars Lagerback goes in search of the equaliser.
52' SAMUEL OVER AGAIN
Samuel finds space again from a Veron corner, but for the second time in the game he fails to keep a free header down and direct his effort well over the bar.
51' SOLID CENTRE-BACK
Higuain is beaten to a Tevez through-ball by the impressive Yobo, but the pressure from Argentina shows no sign of abating.
49' WIDE OF THE POST
It's Messi again who sets a dangerous move rolling. He sprays a pass out to Veron before making a run into the box and almost clipping the resulting cross inside the far post.
47' DANGER IN DEFENCE
Obinna whips in a dangerous cross, but none of his team-mates gambled and any hint of a chance is lost.
46' SECOND HALF
It has been the game of the tournament so far, and Nigeria get the second 45 underway.
45' HALF TIME
The whistle goes to bring an end to a fascinating first half. Heinze scored early on to put Argentina ahead, and the South Americans have been in imperious form going forward. However, Nigeria are far from out of this and are looking dangerous on the counter attack, particularly when running at out of position right-back Gutierrez. It's still all to play for!
44' OVER THE BAR
Messi is hacked down on the corner of the box, but Veron can't keep the resulting free-kick down.
43' BASICS MUST IMPROVE
Nigeria have repeatedly got into good positions on the flanks, but have failed to beat the first defender with the cross on far too many occasions.
41' YELLOW CARD
Gutierrez picks up the first booking of the game after hacking down Ogbuke Obasi when Nigeria looked to be launching a threatening attack.
40' TIMELY INTERVENTION
Yobo stretches to cut out a long ball that threatened to pick out Messi. If he'd have failed to reach that then the Argentine attacker would have been through on goal.
37' STUNNING STOP!
What a save! Enyeama gets his fingertips to a wonderful curling effort by Messi that was heading for the top corner. That was world class from both players, and so far the keeper is matching the World Player of the Year. Can he keep it up for 90 minutes?
36' WELL PLAYED!
Taiwo is put under pressure by Messi, but keeps possession and dummies around his man to clear the danger.
34' POOR DELIVERY
Taiwo's set-piece delivery is disappointing, but a badly timed clearing header almost creates a chance, only for Romero to come out and claim at full stretch.
31' THREAT ON THE LEFT
Ogbuke Obasi tests Gutierrez yet again after great work by Etuhu in the middle of the park. The Newcastle winger looks really vulnerable in his unfamiliar right-back position and is the one obvious weakness in an otherwise masterly Argentina side.
29' WIDE OF THE FAR POST
Ogbuke Obasi gets in down the left again, but slices his effort when he had time and space to shoot from an angle. The shot inadvertently becomes a cross and almost finds Yakubu at the back post, but it just evades the front-man and slides wide.
28' INTO THE WALL
Taiwo lines up a pile-driver from the free-kick, but hammers his effort straight into the wall.
26' WIDE OF THE POST
Kaita fires in a volley from the edge of the D, but doesn't catch it right and the ball shanks wide of the post. It's been a fascinating start to this match, and both teams are still very much in it.
25' WAY IN FOR NIGERIA
Yakubu drifts wide and exposes the weaknesses at right-back in this Argentina line-up. However, the big man's cross can't find a green shirt and the chance goes begging.
23' SET-PIECE NIGHTMARE
For all of Argentina's dominance from open play, it is corners that are proving Nigeria's undoing. This time they leave Samuel all on his own and the bullish centre-half should have done much better than turn the ball over the bar.
21' AND AGAIN!
Tevez slips Higuain through on the right side of the area, but Enyeama comes to Nigeria's rescue again, standing tall and making the save. Higuain could easily have had a brace already and should really have done better with that chance.
19' ANOTHER GOOD SAVE
Messi finds space again and tests the keeper with a curling shot that was heading for the bottom corner. Nigeria need to change their approach to dealing with the little magician or he will rip them apart this afternoon on the evidence of the opening 20 minutes.
16' STILL IN THE BALANCE
Even though Argentina have been delightful going forward, Nigeria will still be confident of getting something out of this game. On the few occasions when the Super Eagles have got forward they have created chances, and they look particularly dangerous every time they get the ball out to their left flank. Don't hold me to this, but expect more goals in this game.
15' INCHES AWAY
Veron's lovely long pass finds Messi bursting through the middle, but the ball skids on and just escapes the Barcelona man.
14' HIGH AND WIDE
The ball falls to Ogbuke Obasi in the area, but his first-time shot goes high and wide. That would have been a wonderful goal had he got it on target, but it was a tricky chance.
12' POORLY JUDGED
Shittu just misjudges a header at the back post. He had time to bring the ball down and have a shot had he reached that, but Gutierrez deserves credit for putting his man off.
10' COULD HAVE GONE ANYWHERE!
Samuel slices a clearance that almost sneaks in at the near post. Romero would have been helpless if that had gone in, and despite being superb going forward, Argentina have looked like they could also concede at any moment.
9' WASTED OPPORTUNITY
Taiwo has the chance to get the ball into the box, but overhits his free-kick and Romero claims easily.
7' MORE ON THAT GOAL
Veron's whipped corner found the veteran left-back in acres of space, and he powered his header home despite the efforts of Odiah on the line. Argentina have been so threatening in the early stages that it's not even a surprise that they've taken the lead so early on.
6' GOOOAAALLL!!!
Heinze puts Argentina 1-0 up from the corner.
5' TIPPED OVER
Messi, who has been phenomenal in the early stages, robs Odiah and tests Enyeama with a fizzing effort from distance.
4' THAT'S A SITTER
Messi beats the whole Nigeria defence on his own and crosses for Higuain to tap in at the near post... but the Real Madrid striker put his shot inexcusably wide.
3' FIRST CHANCE OF THE GAME
Nigeria have the first meaningful attack and should have at least tested Romero. Gutierrez was left for dead at full-back and Obasi drove the ball just wide of the far post when a cross may have been the better option. Dangerous signs for the South American side, that right side looks vulnerable already.
1' INSTANT THREAT
Messi picks up the ball inside the Nigeria half and almost carves out an early chance for Tevez after dancing away from the attention of three green shirted markers.
1' KICK-OFF
Argentina get the game underway.
0' A CHANGE OF SYSTEM
Today is the first time that Maradona has opted for an attacking three. Throughout qualifying the manager preferred Messi in a top two, but that system seemed to stifle the world's best player.
0' THE ANTHEMS
The teams emerge from the tunnel and the atmosphere is absolutely buzzing at a packed Ellis Park. Not the biggest ground at the tournament, there are still over 60,000 fans crammed into the towering stands, while it sounds like the vuvuzela orchestra has turned up in full force.
0' THE NIGERIA XI
Nigeria opt for a solid line-up, with Yakubu and Obinna given the task of leading the line and holding up possession until others can break forward and join. There is no starting place for either Kanu or Martins.
0' THE TEAMS ARE IN
The eyes of the world are on Maradona's team selection... and he hasn't disappointed. Messi plays in his usual Barcelona role on the right of a front three which includes Higuain and Tevez. Di Maria starts on the left, with Veron and Mascherano likely to pair up in the middle of the mark. Gutierrez plays, although it is unclear whether that will be on the right of midfield or at full-back. All will be revealed come kick-off.
0' THIS SHOULD BE FASCINATING
Argentina are just minutes away from kicking off their tournament, and millions will be tuning in to see whether they crash and burn or produce the magic that this squad is capable of.
0' PREDICTION
Argentina are unpredictable, but their attacking talents are likely to be too much for the Nigeria defence.
0' WHAT'S AT STAKE?
If Argentina don't qualify it would be a disaster for one of the most talented squads at the tournament, so anything other than a win here would heap pressure on key figures Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi. Nigeria will have hopes of finishing in the top two, with other group opponents South Korea and Greece both far from unbeatable.
0' ONES TO WATCH
Nigeria can call upon a host of celebrated attacking options in John Utaka, Nwankwo Kanu and Obafemi Martins, but fellow striker Ikechukwu Uche could be the surprise option after impressing in qualifying. For Argentina, Angel Di Maria is one of the most promising young players in European club football, and the attacking left sided player could take some of the creative pressure off of Lionel Messi's shoulders.
0' STAR MEN
Argentina have the world's best player in their ranks in Lionel Messi. Nigeria lost the celebrated John Obi Mikel through injury, but can still call upon experienced defender Joseph Yobo.
0' HOW THEY QUALIFIED
Argentina left it late to qualify after a nightmare run of results by their high standards. However, Nigeria were even more fortunate, scoring late goals to come from behind against Kenya and take advantage of a shock slip-up by group leaders Tunisia against Mozambique to tip them to qualification.
0' REFEREE
Celebrated German referee Wolfgang Stark has had an impressive career, aside from one stand-out tempestuous encounter between Argentina and Chile in the 2007 Under-20 World Cup, where players of the latter side clashed with police after a game in which he called 53 fouls issuing nine cards.
0' THE VENUE
Predominantly a rugby ground and the venue for the 1997 Rugby World Cup Final, Ellis Park in Johannesburg is one of the most famous stadiums in Africa. Opened in 1928, Ellis Park was improved last year, increasing its capacity to 62,500.
0' EARLY TEAM NEWS
It is virtually impossible to predict the XI that Maradona will pick for any game. The only certainty is that, if fit, Javier Mascherano, Lionel Messi and - incredibly - Newcastle's Jonas Gutierrez are odds on to be in the line-up. Nigeria will struggle to replace Mikel, and are expected to turn to Monaco's Lukman Haruna in central midfield.
0' PREVIEW
No other team has attracted quite as much attention as Argentina has in the build-up to this tournament. Diego Maradona's bizarre selection and equally puzzling tactics mean that one of the most star-studded squads at the tournament aren't ranked as one of the favourites, but if they click it could be frightening, particularly for a Nigeria side shorn of their biggest name in John Obi Mikel.
CommentaryTeam StatsPlayer Stats Shotchart
Teams
Argentina
(4-4-2)
Sergio Romero22
41' Jonás Gutiérrez17
Martín Demichelis2
Walter Samuel13
6' Gabriel Heinze6
74' Juan Sebastián Verón8
Javier Mascherano14
Lionel Messi10
85' Ángel Di María7
Carlos Tevez11
79' Gonzalo Higuaín9
Substitutes
Mariano Andújar21
Diego Pozo1
85' Nicolás Burdisso4
Ariel Garcé12
Nicolás Otamendi15
Clemente Rodríguez3
74' Maxi Rodríguez20
Mario Bolatti5
Javier Pastore23
79' Diego Milito19
Sergio Agüero16
Martín Palermo18
Nigeria
(4-3-3)
1Vincent Enyeama
17Chidi Odiah
2Joseph Yobo
6Daniel Olusola Shittu
3Taye Ismaila Taiwo 75'
14Sani Kaita
20Dickson Etuhu
15Haruna Abdulkarim Lukman 77'
18Victor Nsofor Obinna 52'
8Yakubu Aiyegbeni
19Chinedu Obasi 60'
Substitutes
16Austin Ejide
23Dele Aiyenugba
22Ayodele Adeleye
5Rabiu Afolabi
21Elderson Uwa Echiejile
12Kalu Uche 75'
4Nwankwo Kanu
13Atanda Ayila Yussuf
9Obafemi Martins 52'
11Peter Odemwingie 60'
7John Utaka
10Brown Ideye
Team Stats
Argentina Nigeria
1 Goals 0
1 Assists 0
20 Shots 11
7 Shots on Goal 1
1 Saves 6
0 Penalties Scored 0
0 Penalty Kicks 0
10 Crosses 22
10 Corner Kicks 4
0 Offsides 0
7 Fouls Committed 8
1 Cautions/Yellow Cards 1
0 Red Cards 0
CommentaryTeam StatsPlayer Stats Shotchart
Argentina
No. Player G YC RC GA Svs
22S. Romero - 0 0 0 1
2M. Demichelis 0 0 0 - -
6G. Heinze 1 0 0 - -
7Á. Di María 0 0 0 - -
8J. Verón 0 0 0 - -
9G. Higuaín 0 0 0 - -
10L. Messi 0 0 0 - -
11C. Tevez 0 0 0 - -
13W. Samuel 0 0 0 - -
14J. Mascherano 0 0 0 - -
17J. Gutiérrez 0 1 0 - -
Substitutes
4N. Burdisso 0 0 0 - -
19D. Milito 0 0 0 - -
20M. Rodríguez 0 0 0 - -

Nigeria
No. Player G YC RC GA Svs
1V. Enyeama - 0 0 1 6
2J. Yobo 0 0 0 - -
3T. Taiwo 0 0 0 - -
6D. Shittu 0 0 0 - -
8Y. Aiyegbeni 0 0 0 - -
14S. Kaita 0 0 0 - -
15H. Lukman 0 1 0 - -
17C. Odiah 0 0 0 - -
18V. Obinna 0 0 0 - -
19C. Obasi 0 0 0 - -
20D. Etuhu 0 0 0 - -
Substitutes
9O. Martins 0 0 0 - -
11P. Odemwingie 0 0 0 - -
12K. Uche 0 0 0 - -
CommentaryTeam StatsPlayer Stats Shotchart

Players
No.Number
GGoals
AstAssists
SHTSShots
SOGShots on Goal
CKCorner Kicks
CRCrosses
OffOffsides
FCFouls Committed
FSFouls Suffered
YCYellow Cards
RCRed Cards
GAGoals Against
SvsSaves
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