Argentina gets past Nigeria's tight defence

Argentina's Lionel Messi falls as he battles for the ball with Nigeria's Peter Odemwinge during the...

Argentina's Lionel Messi falls as he battles for the ball with Nigeria's Peter Odemwinge during the 2010 World Cup soccer match at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium in Port Elizabeth June 12, 2010. (REUTERS/Eddie Keogh)

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:08 PM ET

JOHANNESBURG - With his dark grey suit and and salt-and-pepper beard, Diego Maradona looks as much South American druglord as Argentinian manager.

Of course, the most legendary player in Argentina history doesn't care what any of us think.

His only concern are the numbers on the scoreboard.

And when the sun set over Johannesburg Saturday evening, they made him smile.

While his Argentinians posted a 1-0 victory over Nigeria at Ellis Park Stadium, Team Maradona easily could have registered more. Lionel Messi himself could have rocketed home two or three - if not for the heroics of Nigerian goalie Vincent Enyeama.

By the time this one was over, Messi probably figured there was a Superman logo under Enyeama's green jersey. That's how good the Nigerian keeper was.

A well-placed header by Gabriel Heinze in the sixth minute was the only ball to elude Enyeama on this day. Unfortunate for Nigeria, it was enough.

While he didn't score, Messi was brilliant, whether it was his weaving runs or between the leg passes. In the process, he sent a warning to the other 31 teams in the tournament that he is on a mission. Diego Maradona would not want it any other way.


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