Nigeria were in superb form as they beat Argentina 4-1 in an international friendly at Abuja National Stadium in Lagos on Wednesday evening, claiming their first victory over the South American giants.
Right from the blast of the whistle, Nigeria’s resolve to beat the South Americans was obvious with Ikechukwu Uche getting the lead in the 11th minute off a shot that took a wicked deflection.
Uche, who had just made his return to competitive action after a long layoff due to injury, was a thorn in the flesh of the Argentines with his mesmerising runs, and played a part of the build-up that led to the push in the back of Victor Anichebe in the box resulting to penalty. While it looked a harsh decision, the spotkick was perfectly converted by Obinna Nsofor in the 26th minute.
A third goal was denied by good defensive work from the Argentines in the 33rd minute, but it did arrive soon after that as Uche headed home at the far post after a perfect cross from the left by Taye Taiwo.
Anichebe was then forced to leave the field before halftime with an injury, with Emmanuel Emenike taking his place.
Early in the second half, a simple opportunity was wasted by Emenike, but he made amends in the 53rd minute by lifting the ball over the Argentine keeper into the net for Nigeria’s fourth goal.
After that the Nigerian side seemed to relax and they decided to string passes together in their own half, a situation the Argentines tried to exploit by throwing more men forward.
In what looked like a game-plan to conserve energy ahead of Nigeria’s crucial 2012 Africa Nation’s Cup qualifier against Ethiopia in Addis Ababa on Sunday, coach Samson Siasia brought on Mohammed Yusuf Ayinla for Chibuzor Okonkwo, Ogwude Fegor for Joel Obi - who showed brilliance in the midfield with Mikel Obi - and Obinna Nsofor was pulled off for Peter Utaka.
A fifth goal was just missed when Ahmed Musa’s cross was just out of Uche's reach.
Argentina were gifted a consolation goal late on when Mauro Boselli converted a penalty in the eighth minute of stoppage time, awarded after the referee somehow spotted a handball in the box.
It was an excellent game in which Nigeria showed dominance and deservedly won.
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