rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Sports » PHOTOS: Messi magic sends Argentina through to last 16

PHOTOS: Messi magic sends Argentina through to last 16

June 22, 2014 00:42 IST

PHOTOS: Messi magic sends Argentina through to last 16

     Next

Next

Lionel Messi's magical left-foot produced another inspirational goal as Argentina managed 1-0 win over gritty Iran in a Group F game of the World Cup in Belo Horizonte, on Saturday.

With some of the most dogged defending that has been witnessed in this edition, Iranians nearly pulled off a memorable draw before the Argentine skipper produced a precision left-footer that curled past goalkeeper Alireza Haghighi, who had been brilliant under the bar.

With six points from two games, Argentina are well on course for a berth in the Round of 16 although their dependance on Messi and failure of the other forwards is becoming increasingly evident.

- Complete coverage of the football World Cup

Please click NEXT for more...


Image: Lionel Messi of Argentina celebrates scoring his team's first goal
Photographs: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

     Next

PHOTOS: Messi magic sends Argentina through to last 16

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Iran predictably employed the ultra-defensive tactic by keeping atleast seven players in their own defensive third which frustrated the Argentine forwards Gonazalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero even though the South American side enjoyed 75 percent of the ball possession.

Messi operating from the attacking hole was always under double covering which kept him quiet save a few dead ball situations. His curling direct free-kick in the 32nd minute went over the horizontal.

- Complete coverage of the football World Cup

Please click NEXT for more...


Image: Sergio Aguero of Argentina tries to get the ball past Iran's defenders
Photographs: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Prev     Next

PHOTOS: Messi magic sends Argentina through to last 16

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

The first time that Messi really could threaten was at the stroke of an hour when he sprinted down the middle and his left-footed placement using the instep was atleast a foot away from the near post. He took a number of corner kicks and free-kicks but much to the dismay of the partisan fans failed to get the winner.

Whenever Messi had the ball in possession, there was a trail of red-shirts following him. Defensive midfielder Andranik Timotian should be credited for keeping Messi quiet playing the role of a spoiler in the middle third.

- Complete coverage of the football World Cup

Please click NEXT for more...


Image: Andranik Teymourian of Iran (left) challenges Lionel Messi
Photographs: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Prev     Next

PHOTOS: Messi magic sends Argentina through to last 16

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

With Diego Maradona watching from the stands, Argentina couldn't effectively decode the chink in the Iran defence in the first 45 minutes.

The best chance for Argentina in the first half came in the 16th minute of the first half when Fernando Gago split the Irani defence with a lovely assist from the right which saw Higuain reach the spot but goalkeeper Alireza Haghighi showed good anticipatory skills to foil the attempt.

Haghighi again came to the fore when he effected a diving save off a curling placement from Sergio Aguero after Higuain set him up.

- Complete coverage of the football World Cup

Please click NEXT for more...


Image: Diego Maradona watches the action from the stands
Photographs: Ian Walton/Getty Images

Prev     Next

PHOTOS: Messi magic sends Argentina through to last 16

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

In the 66th minute Ashkan Dejagah nearly got Iran a goal but Romero spectacularly tipped it over crossbar denying the Fulham man what probably would have been his most memorable goal in the World Cup.

Argentina manager Alejandro Sabella ultimately changed both his frontmen Aguero and Higuain during the final quarter with Palacio and Ezequiel Lavezzi.

Palacio got into the act in the 83rd minute when his header was parried away by Haghighi.

In the 86th minute, Reza Ghoochannejhad pouched on a counter ball and beat Mascherano for pace but his placement wasn't powerful enough with Romero effecting a diving save.

- Complete coverage of the football World Cup

Please click NEXT for more...


Image: Reza Ghoochannejhad (centre) of Iran reacts after a missed chance
Photographs: Ian Walton/Getty Images

Prev     Next

PHOTOS: Messi magic sends Argentina through to last 16

Prev     More
Prev

More

Four-times world player of the year Messi curled the ball in during stoppage time to send the Argentine fans wild with only his third ever World Cup goal.

- Complete coverage of the football World Cup

Please click NEXT for more...


Image: Lionel Messi scores Argentina's first goal past Iran goalkeeper Alireza Haghighi
Photographs: Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Prev     More