Nigeria lose to Argentina but go through
Posted: 25 June 2014 Time: 20:32
An Ahmed Musa brace was not enough to prevent Nigeria from losing 3-2 to Argentina in their final Group F game, as they reached the second round of the World Cup for the first time since 1998.
Lionel Messi struck in the 3rd minute to give Argentina an early lead after latching onto the rebound of a shot by Angel Di Maria, and sending it into the roof of the net.
Nigeria however made an instant response as they equalized a minute later through Ahmed Musa who latched onto Michael Babatunde's ball from the left flank, before cutting into the area to unleash a right footed shot from 16-yards which beat Romero. 1-1.
Di Maria and Gonzalo Higuain came close for Argentina moments later, with the latter hitting the side-netting after being put through by a pass from Messi, but Enyeama put enough pressure on the striker to quell the threat.
Nigeria knocked the ball around in a futile bid to reduce the pace of the game, but the Argentines continued to press with the likes of Di Maria, Messi and Higuain leading the onslaught for the South Americans.
Messi however restored Argentina's lead before the end of the half by scoring in the second minute of added time, after he scored from a direct free-kick which was awarded in his favour after he was fouled by Ogenyi Onazi.
But Nigeria equalized two minutes into the resumption of the second half through Musa again, as the winger broke free after a one-two with Emenike and found space to send to send Romero the wrong way with a nicely placed shot into the left post.
Di Maria came close to restoring the lead for Argentina two minutes later with a thunderous shot from 20-yards, but Enyeama palmed his effort over the crossbar.
Argentina however restored their lead from the subsequent free-kick in the 50th minute after Omeruo's clearing header deflected off Marcos Rojo's knee for his first international goal.
The intensity of the game gradually slowed down as Nigeria found more space and midfield in latter stages of the game and created a number of half chances, none of which could be utilized to restore parity.
Nigeria however went through in spite of the result, after Bosnia-Herzegovina defeated Iran 3-1 in the other game. Argentina top Group F with 9 points, while Nigeria finished in second place with 4 points.
Bosnia-Herzegovina finished third with three points, while Iran were placed bottom with one point.