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As it happened: 2018 World Cup - Nigeria exit as Argentina progress

By Joseph Kizza

Added 26th June 2018 08:46 PM

Lionel Messi steers Argentina to the last 16 at the expense of Nigeria

As it happened: 2018 World Cup - Nigeria exit as Argentina progress

Lionel Messi steers Argentina to the last 16 at the expense of Nigeria


Live reporting by Joseph Kizza





Africa's story at this World Cup is ending at the group stage - match after match.

There is one candle still burning though. Senegal.

Can the Lions of Teranga salvage some pride for the continent?

The west Africans will have to beat Colombia on Thursday to advance to the Group of 16.





  FULL TIME - Nigeria 1 Argentina 2

It is game over!

Argentina have been brave, and it is that bravery that has taken them to the knockout stage of this World Cup at the expense of a spirited Nigerian side.

Lionel Messi opened the scoring, Victor Moses equalised from the spot, before Marcos Rojo's late winner sealed Nigeria's fate.




90min (+2)    Argentina going for third

It is all Argentina now, both in the stands and on the pitch.

That wonderful Marcos Rojo goal sure did lift a nation, and belief could not have been any higher against a deflated Nigeria side.

Lionel Messi makes a final push for a cushion but he is too weary to make the breakthrough he needs for a third goal. He is operating on reserves as he battles with two Nigerian defenders on the right flank.

Nigeria 1  Argentina 2



90min    Croatia beat Iceland 2-1

Croatia will be the Group D leaders going into the knockout stage after seeing off Iceland 2-1 in the other match to collect a maximum nine points.

Here at St. Petersburg, we have four minutes of added time and Argentina are in the commanding seat.






  86min     GOAL! - Argentina

Marcos Rojo scores what should be the winner - unless Nigeria respond.

That was a brilliant goal - a result of a cross deep into the Nigerian box. Francis Uzoho is caught here in a crowded box.

The Super Eagles have less than five minutes to answer.

Nigeria 1  Argentina 2





80min     Argentina probing

Ten minutes to stoppage time.

As it stands, Nigeria are going through while Argentina are exiting.

Some Messi magic looming?

Nigeria 1  Argentina 1



77min     PENALTY? - Nigeria

Nigeria have a strong case for a penalty here.

Ighalo, after finding himself in good goal-scoring space, blasts off-target.

But the Nigerian immediately signals to the referee a case of a hand ball inside the box during that attack.

His teammates intervene, calling for VAR consultation. The official bows to the pressure and goes for a check on the screens that have played a huge role in this World Cup so far.

Ultimately, the Turkish official emerges with a "No penalty" message - much  to the relief of the Argentina camp.

Nigeria 1  Argentina 1



73min     Meanwhile, Iceland 1  Croatia 1

Iceland have levelled matters against Group D leaders Croatia through a penalty.

That means Croatia are still at the top but now with seven points, Nigeria in second, Argentina third and Iceland bottom.



70min     CLOSE! - Ndidi (Nigeria)

Danger alert for Argentina!

Ahmed Musa, the scorer of the Super Eagles' two goals against Iceland, makes a good run on his favorite left flank, slices it across the field to find Wilfred Ndidi. The Nigerian's rasping shot is good but a tad too high.

Would have been a delicious goal had it gone in.

Nigeria 1  Argentina 1



68min     15 goals in 19 games for Messi

Lionel Messi looks dangerous every time he has the ball. Well, doesn't he always!

In the last two years, the Barcelona forward has now netted 15 goals in 19 games for his nation, which needs him more than ever at the moment.



65min     Argentina bossing possession

Argentina may have most of the ball (53% v Nigeria's 37%), but it is all-square here.

At the moment, the Africans are doing more defending than attacking. One through pass is targeting Angel di Maria, but the industrious forward has a touch too many, letting the ball roll out of play.

Nigeria  1 Argentina 1



62min     Nigeria going through - as it stands

Croatia are leading against Iceland in the other Group D match being played at the same time.

And as it stands, Croatia are top on nine points, Nigeria second on four points, Argentina third on two points while Iceland lie bottom on one point.

Can the Super Eagles hold on here? There is still an awfully long way to go.

Nigeria 1  Argentina 1




60min     SUBSTITUTION - Argentina

The South Americans make use of one of their substitutes.

Enzo Pérez is the man off and in his place comes Cristian Pavón.

Nigeria 1  Argentina 1



55min     Fiesty, intense affair

It is becoming a physical encounter inside an ecstatic St. Petersburg Stadium.

That goal did well to silence the Argentine crowd and at the same time roar the Super Eagles support back to life.

Nigeria 1  Argentina 1






  51min     GOAL! - Nigeria

Victor Moses converts coolly by sending Franco Armani the wrong way.

The Super Eagles are back!

Nigeria 1  Argentina 1








49min     PENALTY! - Nigeria

What a swift start to this second stanza!

Javier Mascherano is the offender here and he is immediately shown the yellow card.

Plenty of protesting Argentina players swarm the referee, who does well to shoo them off as he consults the VAR team.

It is not long until the Turkish official points to the spot to confirm the penalty.

A perfect chance for Nigeria to swing the game back into their favour.

Nigeria 0  Argentina 1




     KICKOFF! - Second half underway

Here we are for another half of football.



10:05pm     SUBSTITUTION - Nigeria

As we gear up for the start of the second half, Nigeria are the first to make a change in this match.

Kelechi Iheanacho, who got a knock on the head during an in-box challenge in the first half, will give way for China-based Odion Ighalo.

Nigeria 0  Argentina 1





  HALF TIME! -   Nigeria 0  Argentina 1

And that's it.

Lionel Messi's 14th-minute goal is the difference here at St. Petersburg.



45min (+1)     Nigeria 0  Argentina 1

Nigeria get a freekick after Gabriel Mercado bundles Oghenekaro Etebo on the left flank. The freekick is taken swiftly but the end-product is no good.

Seconds ticking away.



44min     OUCH! - Iheanacho (Nigeria)

Kelechi Iheanacho goes down writhing in pain. A high boot by Marcos Rojo during a challenge inside the Argentina box sends the Leicester City man down.

He rolls in pain - looks worrying. He will be OK though.

Two minutes of added time flashed up.




42min     Iceland v Croatia still goalless

As the action continues here, none of the nets have been shaken in the other Group D match between Iceland and Croatia.



38min     Nigeria 0  Argentina 1

Argentina have never gone through a first round group stage at a World Cup without at least one win.

As we approach the break here in St. Petersburg, Messi and co and in no mood of letting that record slip.




34min     HITS THE POST! - Argentina

In the ensuing freekick from that foul on Di Maria, Messi is the man to take it, and he stands menancingly over the ball with an air of authority and foreboding.

It is a good distance from goal and he often scores those.

The Argentine maestro curves the ball goalwards, but it crashes off the post and back into play. Credit to Uzoho, who gets his finger tips to it. Fine margins those!

Nigeria 0  Argentina 1




  32min     YELLOW CARD! - Balogun (Nigeria)

Leon Balogun is booked for clipping at Angel di Maria.

The speedy Argentine is on the end of a defence-splitting pass from the midfield. The former Real Madrid and Manchester United winger is through on goal but Balogun, hot on his heels, clips his heels to send the forward tumbling onto the green ground.



27min     OUCH! - Uzoho (Nigeria)

Nigerian keeper Francis Uzoho stays down after being clattered into by a marauding Gonzalo Higuaín inside the box.

The youngster becomes the centre of attention as he remains on the turf, before willing himself back onto his feet.

Argentina are seeing more of the ball against Nigeria.

Nigeria 0  Argentina 1



26min     Meanwhile, in the other Group D game

The last group matches are being played simultaneously to avoid any likelihood of syndicate.

Iceland and Croatia are playing in the other Group D encounter and it is still goalless.




23min     Nigeria 0  Argentina 1

Lionel Messi has now scored in three World Cups.





20min     Can Musa do it again?

Ahmed Musa scored two goals against Iceland in Nigeria's second group game. He is the Super Eagles' all-time top scorer at the World Cup with four goals.

His other two goals came in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil - against Argentina.

Can he do it again?

Nigeria 0  Argentina 1



17min     Argentina on the right track

A place in the last 16 is up for grabs, and Argentina have placed themselves in a good position to snatch it.

The Super Eagles will have to respond quickly here if they are to stand a chance.

Oh, and by the way, that was Messi's first goal of this tournament.

Nigeria 0 Argentina 1






  14min     GOAL! -  Argentina

Who else!

You guessed right. Lionel Messi.

He missed a penalty against Iceland in their opening game, but this time the man being watched keenly by a nation cannot be denied.

But then, what a clean long pass by Ever Banega to find a marauding Messi. The Argentine striker outruns Kenneth Omeruo, before beating 19-year-old Francis Uzoho from an angle. He scores many of them like that.

Argentina erupts.

Nigeria 0  Argentina 1






10min     Nigeria 0  Argentina  0

You may want to know that Nigeria's six World Cup wins have all come against European sides.

Can they widen their horizon tonight?



07min     CLOSE! - Argentina

Nice vision there by Nicolas Tagliafico but he blasts way wide once he makes a spirited run into the box.

Meanwhile, Messi is quite menancing at the moment, and has, as expected, attracted a lot of minders.

Nigeria 0  Argentina 0



06min     Messi threat snuffed out

The hopes of a nation are being carried by Lionel Messi. And the skillful forward gives chase towards the Nigerian box, before being brought down by his opposite John Obi Mikel.

That was deft from the Barcelona star. Already a thorn in the Nigerian back.

Nigeria 0  Argentina 0



02min     Maradona in the house

Argentina footballing legend Diego Maradonna is watching his nation vie for a place in the knockout stage.

Can this generation of football make him smile tonight?

Nigeria will have a big say in this.

Nigeria 0  Argentina  0





     KICKOFF - Nigeria 0  Argentina 0

We are underway.

The Super Eagles get the sphere rolling. St. Petersburg is awake and watching. The world is watching too.

Game on!



8:50pm     Will it be Nigeria or will Argentina make it?

Nigeria v Argentina (kickoff: 9pm)

That is the game we are having tonight.

Hello and welcome to this live text commentary of a decider. Can the Super Eagles beat Lionel Messi's Argentina to a spot in the 2018 World Cup knock-out stage?

I will keep you posted.

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