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Argentina 2 Nigeria 4: Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi stars as Lionel Messi misses Super Eagles comeback

Arsenal forward Alex Iwobi scored two goals as Nigeria fought back to stun Argentina with a 4-2 friendly victory on Tuesday night.

Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli rested Lionel Messi following their 1-0 win over Russia on Saturday, and it seemed that they could cope without him as Ever Banega and Sergio Aguero put them in control at the Krasnodar Stadium in Russia.

Banega curled in a free-kick, awarded after Nigeria goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi picked the ball up outside his area, in the 28th minute and Aguero finished off a sweeping counter-attack eight minutes later.

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But Kelechi Iheanacho inspired the Nigeria fightback by emulating Banega with a free-kick on the stroke of half-time, while Manchester City star Aguero was taken to hospital after fainting in the dressing room during the interval.

Iheanacho then set up the equaliser after the break by pulling the ball back for Iwobi to stroke into the net 52 minutes into the game.

The Super Eagles took the lead two minutes after that when Brian Idowu sidefooted home from the edge of the area to finish off a counter attack.

Sergio Aguero fainted and was taken to hospital

A superb goal by Iwobi completed the comeback in the 73rd minute as he collected the ball, slipped it between Javier Mascherano’s legs and fired past Agustin Marchesin.

Argentina staggered through their World Cup qualifying campaign, only clinching their place at the finals with a 3-1 win in Ecuador in their final match.

This report was first published in the Evening Standard.

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