WORLD CUP: Argentina make hard work of Nigeria victory

Argentina got off to a winning start with a 1-0 win over Nigeria but almost paid the price for missing a host of chances thanks to the brilliance of the Super Eagles keeper Vincent Enyeama
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Argentina got off to a winning start with a 1-0 win over Nigeria but almost paid the price for missing a host of chances thanks to the brilliance of the Super Eagles keeper Vincent Enyeama

Argentina:1
Nigeria: 0

Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg

Crowd: 50,389

Officials Referee:Wolfgang Stark (Germany)
Assistants: Jan-Hendrik Salver & Mike Pickel (both Germany)
Fourth official: Khalil Al Ghamdi (Saudi Arabia)

Yellow cards: ARG - Gutierrez NIG - Haruna

Red cards: none

When Gabriel Heinze was allowed to power home a diving header from a Jan Veron corner after only 6 minutes it seemed as if Argentina were set for a comfortable afternoon.

Yet though they continued to create a host of chances they found Nigeria stopper Enyeama in imperious form as he made a string of fine saves to frustrate the South Americans.

Lionel Messi in particular was thwarted on a least three occasions as Nigeria were pushed back onto the defensive for most of the game.

But for all Argentina’s total control there were odd moments when they did not look secure at the back and could have been punished by more accomplished teams.

In the last twenty minutes despite continuing to make chances Argentina could have been embarrassed by a Nigerian equaliser.

Substitute Obafemi Martins had a fierce shot beaten away by the Argentina keeper then a flowing move saw another sub Kalu Uche get on the end of a
Ayegbeni Yakubu cross, but the ball bounced up and his shot from ten yards ballooned over the crossbar.

Diego Maradona and the bench celebrated wildly at the final whistle but they must know sterner tests lie ahead.

Starting Line-Ups

ARG

22. Sergio Romero
17. Jonas Gutierrez
2. Martin Demichelis
13. Walter Samuel
6. Gabriel Heinze
8. Juan Veron (Maxi, 74)
14. Javier Mascherano
7. Angel Di Maria (Burdisso, 85)
11. Carlos Tevez
10. Leo Messi
9. Gonzalo Higuain (Milito, 79)

SUBS

1. Diego Pozo (GK)
3. Clemente Rodriguez
4. Nicolas Burdisso
5. Mario Bolatti
12. Ariel Garce
15. Nicolas Otamendi
16. Sergio Aguero
18. Martin Palermo
19. Diego Milito
20. Rodriguez Maxi
23. Javier Pastore
21. Mariano Andujar (GK)

NIG

1. Vincent Enyeama
17. Chidi Odiah
2. Joseph Yobo
6. Dan Shittu
3. Taye Taiwo (Uche, 74)
14. Sani Kaita
20. Dickson Etuhu
15. Lukman Haruna
19. Chinedu Obasi Ogbuke (Odemwingie, 60)
8. Ayegbeni Yakubu
18. Victor Obinna (Martins, 52)

SUBS

16. Austin Ejide (GK)
4. Nwankwo Kanu
5. Rabiu Afolabi
7. John Utaka
9. Obafemi Martins
10. Brown Ideye
11. Peter Odemwingie
12. Kalu Uche
13. Ayiila Yussuf
21. Uwa Echiejile
22. Dele Adeleye
23. Dele Aiyenugbu (GK)

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