When the draws for the 2018 World Cup take place next month in Russia, none of the seeded teams will want to be in the same group as Nigeria after the Super Eagles put four goals past Argentina on Tuesday night in Krasnodar.
The game finished 4-2 in favour of Gernot Rohr’s boys, but it was not looking good for the Super Eagles early on in the Russian city after going 2-0 down to Jorge Sampaoli’s side courtesy of goals by Ever Banega and Sergio Agüero.
But a brilliantly struck 45th-minute free-kick by Kelechi Iheanacho and three additional goals in the second half, including a brace by Alex Iwobi in-between a debut goal by Bryan Idowu, would have sent jitters down the spines of all the countries seeded above the Super Eagles ahead of the December 1 World Cup draw in Moscow.
After Daniel Akpeyi had in a moment of temporary insanity handled the ball outside his penalty area, Banega punished him for his error by curling home the resultant free-kick. That was in the 27th minute.
Nine minutes later, the Chippa United man was picking the ball once again from the back of his net after Agüero finished off a brilliant attacking move by the Argentines. It was possibly at that point that Rohr felt he would bring on Francis Uzoho for Akpeyi, but the Deportivo La Coruna goalkeeper had to wait until the start of the second half before making his Nigeria debut.
In the 45th minute, Iheanacho curled the ball home from a 20 yard free-kick to make the scoreline more respectable in a first half that was dominated by the Argentines, but whatever it was that Rohr told them in the locker room at halftime must have sunk into the heads of the Nigerians as they began the second half like a pack of hungry wolves.
And it wasn’t long before Iwobi equalised for the Super Eagles from just inside the penalty area after latching onto Iheanacho’s low cross. Two minutes later, in the 54th minute, Iheanacho turned provider once again, this time laying the pass onto the path of Idowu who curled the ball past Agustin Marchesin in the Argentine goal.
It was a moment to cherish for the Russian-born Idowu, who was making his debut for the Super Eagles.
The Eagles weren’t though as Iwobi wrapped up a dream second half for the Nigerians with a delightful finish that saw the Arsenal forward nutmeg Javier Mascherano before slotting the ball past Marchesin.he ball past Marchesin.