Argentina mocked, Muhammad and Sarki send Nigeria to the quarterfinals

The Africans go through despite an hour of Argentine domination. Useless final siege of the albiceleste, which also takes a woodcut with Romero

Sensational in San Juan, where the hosts say goodbye to the tournament at the end of a challenge dominated for long stretches. To the Argentine waste and lack of consistency, Nigeria responded with two deadly paws by exploiting the speed of its attackers in the restart. The albiceleste bites his hands for a sensational wood from Romero on the momentary 1-0 African. The seals of Muhammad and Sarki instead reward a Nigeria good at resisting and exploiting the few opportunities created. The Africans thus return to the quarterfinals after eleven years and three consecutive eliminations in the round of 16. Now they will face the winner of Ecuador-South Korea.

Italian thrust

Mascherano modifies the starting eleven with two surprises: Romero for Soulé in the offensive trio behind Veliz and Redondo in midfield instead of Perrone. Two variations on the theme that don’t change the footprint of the albiceleste seen so far, made up of ball possession, quick exchanges and sudden accelerations. The first opportunity bears the signature of Romero, with a left foot just high, then it’s also the turn of Aguirre and Redondo (guilty of missing an easy header from close range). Script drawn after about twenty minutes, with Argentina in total control and Nigeria defending en bloc in the last 15 meters. The Nerazzurri Carboni is often and willingly directing Argentina’s offensive plots, good at moving between the lines and ready to go shooting (as in the closing of the first half with a venomous left foot deflected wide. What Seleccion lacks however, they are lucidity and concreteness to exploit the large amount of play and Carboni’s intuitions in finishing.


The Argentine superiority is reflected in the 10 shots to 1 in the first 45′ and in the second half it’s the same music. Not even the shadow of proactive Nigeria seen in the first phase, also because the ball is almost always between the feet of the Argentines. No push on the wingers and non-existent the incursions of Lawal, so far two strong points of the third classified in the last African Cup of category. But in the 58th minute they make the San Juan crowd jump with a shot from distance by Ogwuche that hits the crossbar. A clear warning for the Albiceleste defense, caught out again four minutes later and, this time, with lethal results: Giay’s wrong closing on Jude’s through ball for Muhammad and Africans ahead in the general surprise. The repercussion for Argentina was tremendous who, despite the countermeasures of Mascherano, took about ten minutes to react before coming close to equalizing with Romero (great shot from distance that hit the post to the left of Aniagboso) and taking the definitive knockout by newcomer Sarki, who fixes the score at 2-0 with a header from the center of the box. In the end, the public in San Juan was incredulous, as they saw Nigerians celebrating a sensational feat.