Argentina claimed the top spot in Group F on Wednesday thanks a 3-2 win over Nigeria. Twice Lionel Messi put La Albiceleste ahead, and twice Ahmed Musa equalized for Nigeria. In the end, a Marcos Rojo goal in the 50th minute proved the difference.
Despite the result, Nigeria advanced to the Round of 16 as well thanks to Iran's loss against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Argentina took more than 90 minutes to take the lead against Iran, but it took less than three minutes for them to jump ahead of Nigeria. Angel di Maria's initial shot hit off the post, rebounding right to Messi who was more than happy to direct the ball into the empty, giving his side a 1-0 lead.
That lead lasted less than two minutes as Nigeria struck back in the fourth minute thanks to Ahmed Musa. Argentina's defense collapsed on Michel Babatunde, leaving Musa open on the left wing. Babatunde found him with a pass, and Musa did the rest, firing a shot that eluded a diving Sergio Romero, before tucking inside the far post to make it 1-1.
Sergio Agüero was taken off in the 38th minute, after picking up what appeared to be a minor injury. Agüero was able to walk off the pitch under his own power, with only the slight appearance of a limp. Ezquiel Lavezzi took his place on the pitch.
Nigeria made the mistake of giving Messi two dangerous free kick chances late in the first half. He was denied by Vincent Enyeama on the first chance, but two minutes into stoppage time, he made them pay for giving him a mulligan. Messi lifted a shot up and over the wall, curling it away from Enyeama, who could do little but watch the ball fly past him into the back of the net.
Argentina beats Nigeria
Argentina beats Nigeria
Once again, the lead didn't last lost for Argentina as two minutes into the second half, Musa scored his second goal of the match. Musa played a ball in to Emmanuel Emenike who held up play as Musa made a cutting run through a gap in the middle of the Argentina defense. Emenike found Musa on the run and he sent Romero right as he sent his show low, and to the left to make it 2-2.
Aregentina fired right back in the 50th minute on a corner kick. Marcos Rojo was left completely unmarked in the box as a couple Nigerian players were caught ball watching. Rojo went up, got a foot on the ball, and directed it past Enyeama to give La Albiceleste a 3-2 lead.
Argentina: Romero, Rojo, Garay, Fernandez, Zabaleta, Mascherano, Gago, Di Maria, Messi (Alvaráz 63'), Higuain (Biglia 91'), Agüero (Lavezzi 38')
Goals: Messi (3', 46'), Rojo (50')
Nigeria: Enyeama, Oshaniwa, Yobo, Omeruo, Ambrose, Onazi, Mikel, Babatunde (Uchebo 66'), Odemingie (Nwofor 80'), Musa, Emenike
Goals: Musa (4', 47')