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Argentina edge past spirited Nigeria 1-0

By The Assam Tribune

JOHANNESBURG, June 12 (PTI): Gabriel Heinze scored early in the first half as two-time champions Argentina started their 2010 World Cup campaign in style with a 1-0 win over Nigeria in a Group B clash at the Ellis Park stadium here today.

Lionel Messi sparkled in the entire 90 minutes with his deft footworks and lovely run-ins but Nigerian custodian Vincent Enyeama prevented him from scoring after defender Heinze broke the deadlock in the sixth minute.

Argentina created numerous scoring chances and dominated Nigeria throughout the match but Heinze�s early strike was enough for Diego Maradona�s boys to secure the full three points.

Even though the Argentines controlled the proceedings they failed to find the second goal against Nigeria although they threatened on more than one occasion in the second half.

Argentina started the proceedings on an attacking note as Messi looked in irresistible form and threatened to run away with the match from the Nigerians.

If it was not for some acrobatic saves from goalkeeper Enyeama, Nigeria could have been down by at least four to five goals in the opening half.

Magical Messi lived up to his reputation and proved why he was the world�s best player, bringing out numerous saves from the Nigerian custodian in the first session.

Gonzalo Higuain was guilty of wasting at least two clear scoring chances, one of which came as early as in the fifth minute with Messi setting up the opportunity after dodging past three defenders, but Higuain�s shot was tipped away by an alert Enyeama for a corner, resulting in the goal.

Left-back Gabriel Heize powerfully headed home from a Sebastian Veron�s corner after he was left unmarked by the Nigerian defence, which send the Argentina fans and coach Maradona into wild celebration.

Nigeria too had their chances but poor finishing did them in.

With the striking duo Obinna Nsofor and Obasi failing to make any impact, Nigeria replaced them with star striker Obafemi Martins and Peter Odemwingie just 15 minutes into the second half.

Messi was everywhere in the field and got another opportunity to score in the 65th minute but he curled a shot inches wide off the target off a Carlos Tevez pass from a counter-attack.

In the next minute Higuan got yet another opportunity to register his name against the scoresheet but for an ever-alert Enyeama, who pulled off a brilliant save.

Two minutes later, Nigeria had their best chance of scoring but defender Taye Taiwo�s fierce low drive from just outside the circle flashed past the diving Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero.

Enyeama stood between Messi and a goal as he denied the diminutive striker once again in the 79th minute.

Argentina�s defensive midfielder Jonas Gutierrez and Nigerian midfielder Lukman Haruna picked up yellow cards in the match.

With this win, Argentina managed to keep a clean slate against Nigeria at the World Cup, having won all three of their encounters.

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Argentina edge past spirited Nigeria 1-0

JOHANNESBURG, June 12 (PTI): Gabriel Heinze scored early in the first half as two-time champions Argentina started their 2010 World Cup campaign in style with a 1-0 win over Nigeria in a Group B clash at the Ellis Park stadium here today.

Lionel Messi sparkled in the entire 90 minutes with his deft footworks and lovely run-ins but Nigerian custodian Vincent Enyeama prevented him from scoring after defender Heinze broke the deadlock in the sixth minute.

Argentina created numerous scoring chances and dominated Nigeria throughout the match but Heinze�s early strike was enough for Diego Maradona�s boys to secure the full three points.

Even though the Argentines controlled the proceedings they failed to find the second goal against Nigeria although they threatened on more than one occasion in the second half.

Argentina started the proceedings on an attacking note as Messi looked in irresistible form and threatened to run away with the match from the Nigerians.

If it was not for some acrobatic saves from goalkeeper Enyeama, Nigeria could have been down by at least four to five goals in the opening half.

Magical Messi lived up to his reputation and proved why he was the world�s best player, bringing out numerous saves from the Nigerian custodian in the first session.

Gonzalo Higuain was guilty of wasting at least two clear scoring chances, one of which came as early as in the fifth minute with Messi setting up the opportunity after dodging past three defenders, but Higuain�s shot was tipped away by an alert Enyeama for a corner, resulting in the goal.

Left-back Gabriel Heize powerfully headed home from a Sebastian Veron�s corner after he was left unmarked by the Nigerian defence, which send the Argentina fans and coach Maradona into wild celebration.

Nigeria too had their chances but poor finishing did them in.

With the striking duo Obinna Nsofor and Obasi failing to make any impact, Nigeria replaced them with star striker Obafemi Martins and Peter Odemwingie just 15 minutes into the second half.

Messi was everywhere in the field and got another opportunity to score in the 65th minute but he curled a shot inches wide off the target off a Carlos Tevez pass from a counter-attack.

In the next minute Higuan got yet another opportunity to register his name against the scoresheet but for an ever-alert Enyeama, who pulled off a brilliant save.

Two minutes later, Nigeria had their best chance of scoring but defender Taye Taiwo�s fierce low drive from just outside the circle flashed past the diving Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero.

Enyeama stood between Messi and a goal as he denied the diminutive striker once again in the 79th minute.

Argentina�s defensive midfielder Jonas Gutierrez and Nigerian midfielder Lukman Haruna picked up yellow cards in the match.

With this win, Argentina managed to keep a clean slate against Nigeria at the World Cup, having won all three of their encounters.