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A game that was set to end in another upset for a big-name side ended with a touch of brilliance as Lionel Messi scored in added time to give Argentina a 1-0 win over Iran.
The curling effort scored by the Barcelona legend saved Argentina’s blushes against Iran, who played incredibly well on the defensive side of the game. The win gives Alejandro Sabella’s side the full three points and Argentina now advances from Group F at first place with six points, with one more game to go against Nigeria.
The game itself was relatively one-sided at the start. At one point, Argentina controlled more than 80 percent of the possession. Chance after chance was headed or cleared away by a well-disciplined Iran side, though, and try as Argentina might, the Iranian’s held firm.
There were numerous corners conceded but it seemed the Argentine attacking trio of Sergio Aguero-Lionel Messi-Gonzalo Higuain just couldn’t yield a crucial opening goal. In fact, it was Iran who came closest to opening the scoring when Ashkan Dejagah got on the end of a cross and headed towards goal. If not for the fingertips of Argentine ‘keeper Sergio Romero, Dejagah would be celebrating a historic Iranian goal.
Iran’s confidence continued to grow in the second half but after Aguero and Higuain were subbed out, Argentina managed to find good space. Ultimately, it came down to a brilliant piece of genius from Messi, who took a moment to set up, before hitting a beautiful curling effort past the goalkeeper and into the back of the net in added time.
So, Argentina left it late but pulled off the win in the dying moments. Messi, the captain of Argentina, saves the day and prevents another memorable upset result in what has been a World Cup made for the underdogs. Iran deserves a lot of credit for its performance today, with an immense effort in work-rate and defensive skill.
The difference between the two teams was that last bit of skill in Messi’s left foot, something that every Spanish club knows all too well, and something that gives Argentina hope for another World Cup title in 2014.
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