Super Eagles yet again suffered from a set-piece and this time, it cost them their Round of 16 spot at Russia 2018 World Cup.
Argentina superstar Lionel Messi seemingly lifted the weight of his country off his shoulders with a fantastic goal. But was cancelled out in the 51st minute by a perfectly-struck penalty by Chelsea man, Victor Moses.
A Marcos Rojo stunner ensured that the South Americans moved to the next stage ahead of the former African champions.
Substitute Odion Ighalo would have been the hero of the game but spurned two excellent chances in the second half.
It was a complete disappointment for Super Eagles who bossed the second half but Ighalo’s profligacy came back to haunt them as Argentina will play France in Kazan this weekend.
Here is how Super Eagles again fell against Argentina
Francis Uzoho – 7
Wasn’t really troubled except for Messi’s free-kick which he slightly saved with his fingertips. Could not do anything about Messi’s opener. Very brave to smother a through ball at the feet of Higuain not long after to deny the Juventus striker. Had a brilliant performance at the World Cup.
Kenneth Omeruo – 6
Sluggish and was outran by Messi to give the opener. He was better in the second half, strong and composed.
Leon Balogun – 6
Won the penalty that saw Victor Moses gave a balance few minutes after the second half kicked off. Got booked for dragging down Di Maria as the pressure got intensified in the first half of the game. But was not there to safe the late goal.
William Ekong – 6
Was well more composed in the second half. Kept Higuain off the game, didn’t give the striker much of a sniff. He was nowhere to be found to put off the danger that caused their elimination.
Victor Moses – 7
Played deep, wasn’t an attacking force really today. Scored the spot-kick that gave the team a short-lived World Cup hope. He had more impact in the game today but was still always down too easily.
Bryan Idowu – 7
He played as a ‘homeboy’. Got troubled my Mercado and also had a difficult time with substitute Pavon. The last goal cross came from his side.
John Obi Mikel – 7
Lost the midfield to the Argentines in the first half. Passing was accurate but not incisive. More relevant in the second half. Stood in as the captain of the team when he insisted the referee should have a review of the Mascherano’s ‘ball to hand’ foul inside the box. Very composed but again lost the battle to Messi.
Oghenkarao Etebo – 8
Constantly running, showing energy and composure. Close to scoring a free kick which could have perhaps sealed their victory.
Wilfred Ndidi – 8
Wasnt on top of his game the first period. Gained more confidence in the second half and became more energetic and impressive. Was able to reduce the display from Messi and Banega in the second period.
Ahmed Musa – 7
Couldn’t deliver his magical display but he disturbed the Argentines defence after the break. Created excellent chances for Ighalo who sapped his efforts.
Kelechi Iheanacho – 4
Had a very poor halftime display. Delayed the attack several times. He didn’t start with the team in the second half.
Odion Ighalo – 6
Offered more impact to the game than Iheanacho. But unfortunately, might have to take the blame of the team loss. He wasted two excellent chances which could put the game to bed 15 minutes from time.
Came in for Omeruo in the 88th minute of the game. Could offer nothing to the team.
Was able to make an appearance at the World Cup when he came in for Ahmed Musa in the extra four minutes added to the game.