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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 EnyeamaArgentina: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


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)


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)


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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