[www.inewsguyana.com] – Lionel Messi netted twice in the first half as Argentina topped Group F with a 3-2 win over Nigeria in Porto Alegre.
Nigeria will also join Alejandro Sabella’s side in the last-16 as Bosnia’s 3-1 win over Iran in Salvador meant that four points would be enough for them to finish the group in second place.
It took Argentina just three minutes to take the lead after Angel Di Maria’s strike rebounded into the path of Messi and he slammed the loose ball into the roof of the net.
But Nigeria hit back within a minute as Ahmed Musa cut inside of Pablo Zabaleta before unleashing a wonderful curling effort beyond Sergio Romero from the left wing.
Messi looked hungry to make it four goals from three games in Brazil and he did so just before the break, finding the net with a stunning free-kick which left Nigeria keeper Vincent Enyeama helpless as he scrambled across his line.
It promised to be the Messi show but Nigeria had other ideas as they hit back just minutes after half-time when Musa was slotted through on goal and he kept his composure to fire beyond Romero for his second of the evening.
Messi then turned provider when his corner was flicked into the path of Marco Rojo to put Argentina back in front from inside the six-yard box, before the talismanic captain left the field to a standing ovation after an hour.