Super Eagles fought back from two goals down to claim a famous 4-2 victory over two-time world champions Argentina in Krasnodar, Russia last night.
Although the South Americans played without their talismanic Lionel Messi, they had top stars like Sergio kun Aguero, Paulo Dybala, Christian Pavon, Angel Di Maria and Javier Mascherano at the international friendly game with Nigeria.
After an initial quick exchanges between both teams, the game became lively with the South Americans stepping into the driverâ€™s seat on the dot of 20th minute. Ever Banegaâ€™s free kick that resorted from Daniel Akpeyiâ€™s blunder gave the Argies the lead.
Aguero doubled the lead for Argentina in the 34th minute.
But Super Eagles who at this stage had began to worm their way deep into the Albiceleste half, pulled back a goal through a superbly taken free kick by Kelechi Iheanacho.
The free kick was the fall out of the infringement on Iwobi by Mascherano around the box in the 44th minute.
On resumption for the second half, Eagles up their game with skipper John Mikel Obi who was playing his 80th international game at the senior level for Nigeria spraying accurate passes.
Man of the match Iwobi, however drew Nigeria level with the Argies in the 52nd minute after he combined well with strike partner Iheanacho. It was his third goal for the Super Eagles.
Russia-based Bryan Idowu who was making his debut for Nigeria in the game made it 3-2 in favour of Eagles moments later when he latched onto a pass by Iheanacho inside Argentina box to deliver his debut goal.
The three-time African champions were not done yet. Iwobi got his second goal of the night in the 73rd minute when he surged past his markers after he received a pass from substitute Ahmed Musa before he fired home the sealer to earn Nigeria the second victory over Argentina.
Super Eagles Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr, tried out a new formation of 3-5-2 as against the 4-2-3-1 the team used mostly during the World Cup 2018 qualifying series.
In his post-match reaction, Rohr, however warned his warned not to think they have arrived to win the World Cup yet.
â€œ Itâ€™s good victory for us but it doesnâ€™t mean weâ€™ve become favorites to win the World Cup. We stay humble and realise we have more work to do. We prepared well for this game because playing Argentina is big for us, maybe it is different for them.
Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero was taken to hospital in Krasnodar after he fainted inside the dressing room during the friendly against Nigeria.
Aguero, who scored his teamâ€™s second goal in the 4-2 loss to Eagles, regained consciousness in the hospital. He has been held back there for some tests
EAGLES VS ARGENTINA LINE UP: Daniel Akpeyi (Francis Uzoho 46th), Chiedozie Awaziem, William Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun (Kenneth Omeruo 60th ), Ola Aina (Bryan Idowu 46th ), Shehu Abdullahi (Tyronne Ebuehi 46th ), Wilfred Ndidi, John Mikel Obi, John Ogu â€“ Alex Iwobi (Olanrewaju Kayode 87th ), Kelechi Iheanacho (Ahmed Musa 70th )
*Akpeyi (3/10)- The Chippa United shot stopper fluffed another chance to reclaim a place in the team. It remains unbelievable how he committed the elementary error of picking ball outside his goal area.
*Aina (5/10)- He was average in his performance against Argentina. Was he overwhelmed playing against a South American power-house?
* Troost-Ekong (7/10) â€“ Solid as ever in Eagles defence. Did extra work trying to curtain the Albiceleste forward line after the initial blitz that left them panicking.
*Balogun (5/10) â€“ For the first time since returning from the long injury lay off, Leon Balogun played an average game against Argentina last night. He ought to take the blame for the second goal against Nigeria due to his bad positioning.
*Awaziem (5/10) â€“ Last night was a much improved Awaziem but still has the potential to improve with more playing time in the Eagles.
Abdullahi ( 5/10) â€“ Like Awaziem, he also had an average performance.
Ndidi ( 6/10) – Added value to the middle very well and almost got a goal from one of his stray up front.
Ogu (6/10) â€“ After he scored Eaglesâ€™ goal in the one-all draw in Algiers last Friday, Ogu appears to have picked some courage to be counted among players to watch out for in Nigeriaâ€™s line up at Russia 2018. He gave a decent out against Argentina.
*Mikel (7/10) â€“ Had a good performance. Commanded the midfield well and ensured that Aguero and his Argie forwards did not have room to dominate the second half the way they did in the early part of the first stanza.
*Iheanacho (7/10) â€“ An eventual evening for the Leicester City forward. Scored a superb free kick and also had hands in two other goals.
Iwobi (8/10) â€“ Iwobi was unarguably the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the Super Eagles in Krasnoder. Just as Algeria coach, Rabah Madjer pointed him out as the most lethal in the Eagles forward line, the Arsenal player scored two beautiful goals and was constantly a threat to the Argentines each time he had the ball in his legs.