Posted by News Express | 26 June 2018 | 1,749 times
Nigeria minutes ago crashed out of the 2018 World Cup in Russia after losing once more to perennial conquerors Argentina in their final Russia 2018 Group D encounter at St. Petersburg.
The match, in which the Super Eagles needed just a draw to make it to the second round, ended 1-2 in favour of the Argentines.
As he often did in past encounters, Argentine skipper Lionel Messi was pivotal to the extinguishing of Nigeria’s World Cup hopes. He struck in the 14th minutes, latching on to an Ever Banega ball upfield to smash past goalie Francis Uzoho and put the South Americans, who needed to win to progress in the competition, in the driver’s seat.
Nigeria were back on level terms four minutes in the second half after Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir pointed to the spot after Javier Mascherano tangled with Oghenekaro Etebo at a corner. Victor Moses confidently stepped up to send Franco Armani the wrong way.
Hopes of qualification for Nigeria faltered as substitute Odion Ighalo frittered away glaring goal chances but it was Rojo who decisively swung victory in his team’s way in the 85th minute, firing past a sea of legs and Uzoho for the back breaker.
The result saw the Argentines going through as runners-up, with Croatia, who beat Iceland 2-1 in the other fixture, topping the group with six maximum points from three matches.
Nigeria’s ouster leaves fellow West Africans Senegal as Africa’s only prospect in the latter rounds of the competition following the earlier exit of Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.
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