Super Eagles have crashed out of the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Russia after losing 2-1 to Argentina yesterday.
Marcos Rojo scored a brilliant late volley to send Argentina through to the last 16 of the 2018 World Cup with a dramatic victory over Nigeria in St Petersburg.
A lacklustre Argentina were on the verge of an embarrassing exit, before Manchester United defender Rojo surged into the area to place Gabriel Mercado’s cross into the bottom corner.
The result sees them qualify for the knockout stages in second place in the group behind Croatia.
Lionel Messi opened the scoring in the first half before Victor Moses converted a penalty in the second half to equalise. At this stage, Nigeria was going through while Argentina was going home but Marcos Rojo popped up in the box to score the winner in the 86th minute to eliminate the African side.
As soon as the lineups were announced, there must have been a collective sigh of relief when Argentina fans saw the teamsheet. Jorge Sampaoli had decided to scrap the three-man defence and had opted to go back to a back-four.
Nicolas Otamendi and Marcos Rojo started at centre-back in a 4-3-3 with Javier Mascherano, Ever Banega and Enzo Perez in midfield. Gonzalo Higuain started up front with Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria on either side.
As a result, Argentina started on the front foot. The hard-working Di Maria was effective in putting pressure out on the left and he tracked back to press the midfield in a bid to win the ball back and initiate attacks.
Nigeria – playing a 3-5-2 – had to sit back to absorb the pressure and hit them on the counter-attack. Kelechi Iheanacho and Ahmed Musa played up top but John Obi Mikel played in a deeper role compared to the no.10 role he had adopted in the first two games.