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Sunday, 2 June, 2002, 04:59 GMT 05:59 UK
Clockwatch: Argentina 1-0 Nigeria


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92 mins: Argentina celebrate victory in their opening match. The narrow score-line does not quite reflect their superiority but Nigeria offered dogged resistance.

90 mins: A fine stop from Ike Shorunmu prevents Kily Gonzalez doubling Argentina's lead. The striker will feel he should have done better after being put through by Hernan Crespo.

89 mins: Diego Simeone is cautioned for a reckless tackle.

85 mins: A second, and more clear cut, chance falls to Hernan Crespo. He breaks clear but lofts his shot over the bar.

84 mins: Hernan Crespo heads wide with his first touch.

80 mins: It proves to be Gabriel Batistuta's final contribution to the game as he substituted. Hernan Crespo takes his place.

79 mins: Ike Shorunmu makes a fine save to deny Gabriel Batistuta his second goal of the game. The keeper palms away the striker's fierce free kick.

78 mins: Stand-in captain Juan Sebastian Veron makes way for substitute Pablo Aimar. Diego Simeone assumes the skipper's role.

75 mins: At last Nigeria begin to show attacking intent. Julius Aghahowa tries to wriggle free in the box, but is foiled by the uncompromising Diego Placente.

73 mins: The yellow card is shown to Efe Sodje for a clumsy challenge on Diego Placente.

71 mins: Argentina's intricate appraoch play almost carves open the Nigeria defence. Juan Sebastian Veron is again at the heart of the move.

66 mins: Hoping to catch the keeper by surprise, Juan Sebastian Veron goes for goal when everyone expects a cross from his free-kick. Ike Shorunmu tips the strike over the bar.

63 mins: For the third successive World Cup, Gabriel Batistuta puts his name on the score sheet. From a tight angle he heads Argentina into a deserved lead.
Argentina 1-0 Nigeria

60 mins: The chance of the match falls to Juan Sorin. He controls the ball on his chest and slightly scuffs a volley goalwards. Ike Shorunmu is equal to the shot.

58 mins: Another swiftly delivered corner produces a half-chance for Argentina. Mauricio Pochettino becomes the latest to nod wide.

57 mins: Argentina substitute Hernan Crespo warms up on the sidelines.

54 mins: The pace of the game picks up as both sides press for the opening goal.

50 mins: Gabriel Batistuta's powerfully struck free-kick rises too high and does not trouble Ike Shorunmu.

49 mins: Juan Sorin fails to hit the target with a free header.

48 mins: The clearest chance of the match falls to Gabriel Batistuta. The striker finds himself in space and connect with Juan Sebastian Veron's corner but volleys wide from close range.

47 mins: Nwankwo Kanu limps off the field. He is replaced by Pius Ikedia.

46 mins: Argentina make a half-time substitute. Kily Gonzalez replaces Claudio Lopez.

41 mins: Nigeria's solid defensive display continues to frustrate Argentina. For all their possession, the South Americans can not fashion a scoring opportunity.

38 mins: Julius Aghahowa attempts the spectacular. He hits his overhead kick sweetly but the strike lacks accuracy and flies wide of the Argentine goal.

37 mins: Juan Sebastian Veron delivers a fine cross but Gabriel Batistuta's magnificent leap is not quite matched by his header, which is off target.

36 mins: Argentine pressure leads to another corner.

32 mins: The previously quiet Jay Jay Okocha suddenly sparks into life. He ghosts past two defenders before blazing a shot towards the top corner, forcing Pablo Cavallero into an athletic save.

30 mins: Ariel Ortega unleashes a fizzing drive from distance. Ike Shorunmu tips the shot over the bar.

29 mins: The hot sunshine is dictating a fairly slow tempo.

24 mins: Precise passing by Nigeria opens up Argentina. Garba Lawal's pass narrowly fails to reach Bartholomew Ogbeche, who has made a strong run into the area.

21 mins: A clever reverse pass from Juan Sebastian Veron sends Gabriel Batistuta scampering through. Once more he is denied by Ike Shorunmu, who saves with his feet.

18 mins: Ike Shorunmu's goal kick gifts possession to Argentina. Gabriel Batistuta fails to take full advantage as the Nigeria keeper dives to his right to save the shot.

16 mins: More trickery from Ariel Ortega almost presents Gabriel Batistuta with an opening, but once more the Nigerian defence stands firm.

13 mins: Juan Sebastian Veron's free-kick cannons off the Nigeria wall and Argentina earn their first corner.

12 mins: A clever backheel by Nwankwo Kanu releases Celestine Babayaro, but his cross is easily intercepted.

8 mins: Argentina have made a strong start with Ariel Ortega in particular looking lively on the right wing.

6 mins: The Nigeria defence scrambles away Gabriel Batistuta's low cross.

4 mins: Celestine Babayaro's teasing centre is turned behind for Nigeria's first corner. Efe Sodje volleys the resulting cross over the bar.

2 mins: Argentina mount their first attack but Gabriel Batistuta fails to get on the end of a cross into the penalty area.

0630 BST: Nigeria get the opening Group F match underway.

Argentina's Roberto Ayala is a late withdrawal and is replaced by Diego Placente. Juan Sebastian Veron takes over as captain.

Gabriel Batistuta, preferred to Hernan Crespo, spearheads forward line, partnered by the pacy Claudio Lopez.

Nigeria striker Julius Aghahowa will lead the attack after shaking off doubts about his fitness. Celestine Babayaro has overcome a groin strain.


Argentina: Pablo Cavallero, Mauricio Pochettino, Diego Placente, Walter Samuel, Javier Zanetti, Diego Simeone, Juan Sebastian Veron, Juan Sorin, Ariel Ortega, Gabriel Batistuta, Claudio Lopez.

Nigeria: Ike Shorunmu, Celestine Babayaro, Taribo West, Isaac Okoronkwo, Efe Sodje, Joseph Yobo, Nwankwo Kanu, Jay Jay Okocha, Bartholomew Ogbeche, Julius Aghahowa, Garba Lawal.

Referee: Gilles Veissiere (France)


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