Nigeria 2 Argentina 3: Player ratings as Lionel Messi shines again

Nigeria 2 Argentina 3: Player ratings as Lionel Messi inspires his country to a third straight victory at the World Cup

Nigeria
2
Argentina
3

Nigeria

Vincent Enyeama Kept busy for much of the game, pulling off a number of good saves. Could do little to stop the first goal, poor positioning for the second when you factor in that the Nigerian number one saved an almost identical effort from Messi moments earlier. However, it was on a postage stamp, whether he’d of kept it out is very much debatable. 7/10

Efe Ambrose Found it tough to quell the Argentine front four, in particular the attacking threat posed by Di Maria but worked hard. Great effort on goal in the final few minutes, the side netting denied him a goal. 6

Juwon Oshaniwa Solid ball retention and consistent passer. 6

John Obi Mikel Every forward move by Nigeria went through the Chelsea midfielder, showed good touches and confident movement, looked to feed Musa down the left and Emenike down the right at will. 7

Joseph Yobo Won his 100th cap for the Super Eagles, looked assured and composed in possession, given a game by Di Maria and Lavezzi. 7

Kenneth Omeruo Tough in the tackle but decisive to win possession back in key areas. 7

Peter Odemwingie A key member of the Nigerian starting line up since being called back into the team, his intelligent play and experience helped keep the African side in the game. 7

Ogenyi Onazi Good on the ball, worked tirelessly for his team. 7

Emmanuel Emenike Full of attacking endeavour to keep Rojo on his toes, Gago was invariably there to shut the door. 7

Michel Babatunde Did well but left the field with a nasty wrist injury. 6

Ahmed Musa Fantastic strike to get his team back in the game almost immediately in the first half. With the same immediacy, levelled again after the break with an emphatic solo effort. 8

Substitutes

Uche Nwofor N/A

Michael Uchebo N/A

Argentina

Sergio Romero Nothing he could do about Musa’s first equaliser, perhaps could have rushed off his line quicker to close down the angle for his second. Generally attentive otherwise. 6

Pablo Zabaleta Could have got closer to Musa to preserve a first-half shutout. Full of running, fantastic work-rate as is the norm from the Manchester City right-back. 7

Marcos Rojo Both he and Garay provided a presence from set-plays. Alive to his team-mate’s header goalwards to jab into the net for his first international goal. A threat going forward throughout. 7

Javier Mascherano Commanding. Tidied up in defence and linked play to the creative, attacking players in the team. 8

Federico Fernández Stuck to his job in the Argentine system well. 7

Ezequiel Garay Could drive a bus through the Argentinian defence for Nigeria’s second. Made up for it by rising highest moments later to play a part in Argentina’s third. 7

Fernando Gago Workman like in the middle with Mascherano. 8

Lionel Messi (man of the match) The star of the show, simply put. What else can be said that hasn’t already? 9

Gonzalo Higuaín Provided a good foil for Messi in the final third. Lost possession too easily on the run on occasions. 6

Sergio Agüero Took a knock in the first half, replaced by Lavezzi. N/A

Angel Di María Dangerous down the flanks, looks to have matured into quite the player. Never stopped running. 8

Substitutes

Lucas Biglia N/A

Ricardo Gabriel Álvarez N/A

Ezequiel Lavezzi on for the injured Aguero, asked questions of the Nigerian defence. 7

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