Super Eagles failed to fly

Saturday, June 12, 2010
By: 
Nthambeleni Gabara

Johannesburg - Argentina got their World Cup campaign off to a flying perfect start on Saturday when they defeated Nigeria 1-nil at Coca-Cola Park Stadium.

Heinz's goal was enough for Argentina to overcome Nigeria and gain second position in Group B. South Korea is leading the group after their stunning 2-nil win over Greece at the Nelson Mandela Bay earlier on Saturday.

The Marseille star's solidarity goal kept the South American football fans to remain at the stadium cheering, dancing and waving their flags, while some Nigerian supporters were glued to their seats, but reeling in pain.

For collecting the three maximum points, Maradona's team will go to play South Korea at Soccer City on 17 June.

Maradona tactical line-up was 4- 3-1-2, with Lionel Messi playing behind Higuain and Manchester City striker, Carlos Tevez, while the two-times African Nations Cup champs line-up tactic was 4-3-3.

World player of the year, Lionel Messi sent his fans into raptures with his brilliant moves.

When the Barcelona star got the ball on his feet, the Nigerian defence just opened up and gave more space.

From the first whistle, Maradona's boys started in exemplary fashion with Messi creating goal-scoring opportunities for himself and teammates, Higuain and Tevez.

Five minutes into the game, Messi made a brilliant run into the box of the opponents before he unleashed a volley which was palmed away by Enyeama to give the Argentineans a corner.

Juan Veron took the corner-kick which found Argentina's left back, Gabriel Heinze unmarked in the box who easily beat Enyeama with a header to put his side in the lead.

If it was not for Enyeama, who on various occasions denied Messi increasing the score, Argentina would have conceded more than three goals in the first half.

When Nigeria created more goal-scoring opportunities, Obinna would always disappoint with his poor finishing. When the German referee Wolfgang Stark blew the whistle for the half-time break, Argentina was still in the lead.

Few minutes after the break, the Super Eagles coach, Lars Lagerback replaced Obinna with Wolfsburg striker Obafemi Martins.

When Lagerback substituted Obasi with Peter Russian Lokomotiv star, Peter Odemwinge's side started to attack.

Even in the second-half, the Nigerians defenders, Taiwo, Shittu, Yobo and Odiah were still unable from stopping Messi. On numerous occasions, the Barcelona star, created more chances for his teammates, who failed to find the back of the net.

Today's line up in the Nigerian team included Vincent Enyeama, Joseph Yobo (skipper), Taye Taiwo, Danny Shittu, Yakubu Ayegbeni, Sani Kaita, Lukman Haruna, Chidi Odiah, Victor Obinna, Chinedu Ogbuke Obasi, Dickson Etuhu.

The Argentinean team included Sergio Romero, Martin Demichelis, Gabriel Heinze, Angel Di Maria, Juan Veron, Gonzalo Higuan, Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez, Walter Samuel, Javier Mashcerano (skipper) and Jonas Gutierrez.