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Argentina survives with a win over Nigeria

St. Petersburg Stadium in Russia was a witness of spectacular scenes on Tuesday night. It was the final group match between favorites Argentina and underdogs Nigeria. The match was a do or die for both the teams and at the end Argentina took a win over the African nation. There was late drama as Marcos Rojo scored a late winner for Argentina to secure their place in the Round of 16 at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Argentina survives with a win over Nigeria 
Saint Petersburg, Russia 
St. Petersburg Stadium in Russia was a witness of spectacular scenes on Tuesday night. It was the final group match between favorites Argentina and underdogs Nigeria. The match was a do or die for both the teams and at the end Argentina took a win over the African nation. There was late drama as Marcos Rojo scored a late winner for Argentina to secure their place in the Round of 16 at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. 
 Argentina was without a victory in this years’ World Cup and this was Argentina’s longest winless run in World Cup finals history with a draw and a loss. On the other hand Nigeria could have played a draw or could have won to go to the next round. But the South American Nation took a sigh of relief after full time as the scoreboard was Nigeria 1, Argentina 2. Nigeria notably has never defeated Argentina in World Cup.

 The enthralling night began with an early 14’ minute goal from striker Lionel Messi. Banega’s ball over the Nigerian defence found Messi and he made no mistake in completing a handsome finish. This was 100th goal scored at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The first half was owned by Argentina was a goals lead.

 The second half saw a up in Nigeria’s game as they created more chances to beat the oppositions’ defence. At 49’ Argentine defender Mascherano was booked with a yellow card for dragging a Nigerian player while the corner was being taken. Well, the punishment got worse for Argentina as a spot kick was awarded to Nigeria. Victor Moses made no mistake as he dribbled the ball on the right-hand side of the goal. The scores were level and the heat was starting to build in the game.

 Argentina had not had a single shot at goal until the 70’ minute and therefore it made 3 attacking substitutions, Pavon, Meza and Kun Aguero went in to change the score line.
 At 86’ Mercado curled a superb cross in the middle and Marcos Rojo drilled the ball with the right foot. This was what the audience had come to see including legend Maradona. Argentina’s hopes lived on as they survived a major scare, they took the lead for the second time in the game and it was all over for Nigeria.

 Argentina will now face France in the elimination round of 16.
 Fact: Portugal is to face Uruguay and Argentina is to face France. If Portugal and Argentina win in the round of 16 then Messi and Ronaldo will face each other in the quarterfinals.  
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Sandeep Semwal
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