6th September, 2011
Two-time world champions Argentina today defeated the Super Eagles of Nigeria 3-1 to get their pound of flesh after they lost 4-1 to the Super Eagles in Abuja in June.
Argentina enjoyed ball possession particularly in the first 45 minutes with star attraction Lionel Messi very central in their revenge win.
He created two of his teamâ€™s goals, while Efe Ambrose put the ball through his own net for the South Americansâ€™ third goal.
The Super Eagles lacked organisation in the midfield and this allowed Argentina to pile pressure directly on a very experimental back four of Elderson Echiejile, Chibuzor Okonkwo, Efe Ambrose and Dele Adeleye.
The coach Samson Siasia tutored side, who were missing skipper Joseph Yobo and first choice goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, were led by Chelsea midfielder Mikel John Obi.
Argentina controlled the play from the blast of the whistle inside a packed Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka, Bangladesh, as Nigeria preferred to sit back and defend inside their own area.
World Footballer of the Year Messi enjoyed his free role as he was always behind all the good moves by Argentina.
In the 24th minute, Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain controlled a first-time pass by Messi right inside the box before he fired home the opening goal of the rematch.
Two minutes later, Messi robbed Mikel of the ball in the middle of the pitch, before he ghosted past four Nigerian markers. His shot was slowed down by a diving goalkeeper Dele Aiyenugba only for Angel di Maria to easily tap home the rebound for the second goal.
Coach Samson Siasia threw in Ahmed Musa and Chinedu Obasi into the fray for the restart and Nigeria were promptly rewarded three minutes after the break when Obasi fired home off a Mikel cross from the left.
Nigeria went on the back foot boosted by this goal. They were more comfortable on the ball and passed the ball among themselves with confidence.
However, Argentina fought back soon after to get a lucky third goal in the 66th minute.
It was an own goal by Efe Ambrose. Just when it seemed the Eagles defence had shut out Higuain inside the box, the ball came off the body of the Israel-based central defender to give the South Americans a two-goal cushion.
US-based playmaker Emmanuel Ekpo finally made his long-awaited Eagles debut as Nigeria now shift attention to their must-win Nations Cup qualifier at home to Guinea next month.