Argentina 1-0 Nigeria

Argentina got their SA2010 campaign off and running with a slick display against Group B rivals Nigeria

Argentina  vs Nigeria

Argentina boss Diego Maradona has threatened to streak around Buenos Aires if his team are crowned world champions for the third time in July, and the stylish manner in which his men disposed of Nigeria suggests his words may be in danger of coming true.

In fact, the only real surprise was that their vastly superior performance, in comparison to Lars Lagerback's Super Eagles, only ended in the narrowest of victories, with Marseille defender Gabriel Heinze's excellent header proving the decisive moment in Johannesburg.

But after their third straight win over Nigeria in World Cup finals, Maradona can go into their next group game against South Korea knowing that victory over the conquerors of Greece will virtually assure him of a place in the knockout phase with a game to spare.

With the firepower at his disposal and the attacking intent of starting with three strikers in Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Carlos Tevez it was a surprise that their opening goal came from one of his defenders.

It was an early strike, fashioned in Ellis Park with a Manchester United flavour that stunned Lars Lagerback and his startled side.

Juan Sebastian Veron was laughed out of Old Trafford as one of the most expensive flops ever signed by manager Sir Alex Ferguson, but he has enjoyed a renaissance back in his native Argentina, and his corner was met with a powerful diving header on the penalty spot by former United defender Heinze.

Only Vincent Enyeama covered himself in glory for the four-times African champions, as the Nigeria 'keeper underlined why he is attracting interest from a number of Premier League clubs with a host of fine saves.

Messi scored four hat-tricks for Barcelona last season and grabbed 47 goals to win Fifa's World Player of the Year, and but for Enyeama he would have had another match ball for his collection.

Enyeama flung himself to turn away a curling shot in the first half, before making two more fine stops to deny the little magician, and he backed that up with another save at the feet of Messi in the second half, as well as another point-blank stop to deny Higuain.

Nigeria rallied in the final stages and Taye Taiwo narrowly failed to equalise, before Maradona was given another let off when substitute Kalu Uche fired over from ten yards in the closing stages.

Argentina (4-3-3): Romero; Gutierrez, Demichelis, Samuel, Heinze; Veron (Rodriguez 70), Mascherano, Di Maria (Burdisso 85); Messi Tevez, Higuain (Milito 79). Subs not used: Pozo, Bolatti, Garce, Otamendi, Aguero, Palermo, Maxi, Pastore, Andujar.

Nigeria (4-4-2): Enyeama; Odiah, Yobo, Shittu, Taiwo (Uche 71); Kaita, Etuhu, Haruna, Obasi Ogbuke (Odemwingie 59); Yakubu, Obinna (Martins 52). Subs not used: Ejide, Kanu, Afolabi, Utaka, Ideye, Yussuf, Echiejile, Adeleye, Aiyenugbu.

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