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Superb Goalkeeper Keeps Losing Nigeria in Game

Published on Sunday 13th June 2010 Superb Goalkeeper Keeps Losing Nigeria in Game

An early goal for Argentina was enough to see them beat Nigeria 1-0 in the 2010 FIFA World Cup Group B encounter at Ellis Park on Saturday evening.

Gabriel Heinze headed home unmarked from a corner to give the South Americans the perfect start. The outstanding Super Eagles goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama kept his side in the game with six top-class saves.

Argentina lined up with a front three of Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez and Gonzalo Higuain, enough to strike terror into any defence.

And the Nigerians looked nervy early on as Higuain somehow contrived to miss a tap-in from Messi's cross, while Messi himself went close after a mazy run.

But Diego Maradona's side were ahead on six minutes as Juan Veron delivered the corner and Heinze rose unmarked to head home.

What followed was a siege of the Nigerian goal as the Argentines created chance after chance, but were repelled by some last-ditch defending and the brilliance of Enyeama, who was deservedly named Man of the Match.

The stopper admits he did his homework on Messi, which helped him make decisions at vital times.

“I studied him for a long time. Watched a lot of game tapes,” Enyeama says. “It is my best-ever performance playing against the best player of the world in Messi.

“God is my secret. God made the difference. God kept me calm and helped me to play well. I thank God for my performance today."

Nigeria did have their chances, especially late in the game as Argentina sat back. The best fell to substitute Kalu Uche, who shot over when he had acres of space after being set up by Yakubu.

Peter Odemwingie also had a promising run on goal as he got behind the Argentine defence, but he inexplicably ran the ball out of play.

Comfort for Nigeria coach Lars Lagerback will come with the knowledge that this is by far the most difficult game his side will have in the pool, and they came through it with their goal difference intact.

“I am very disappointed about the result but proud of the way my players played,” Lagerback said. “It was a good team performance. Argentina are a world-class team.”

The Nigerians will now take on Greece in their next game on Thursday in Bloemfontein.

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