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Rojo, Messi give Argentina dramatic win

Russia Soccer WCup Nigeria Argentina

Argentina players celebrates his side’s second goal by Argentina’s Marcos Rojo during the group D match between Argentina and Nigeria at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

AP

Lionel Messi struck early and Marcos Rojo became a national hero when his late goal gave Argentina a knockout round berth with a 2-1 win over Nigeria in the World Cup on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]

Messi’s goal was brilliant. He collected a diagonal rope from Ever Banega with his thigh, dragging the ball into position before belting it beyond the reach of Francis Uzoho

It could’ve been a brace for Messi, but 19-year-old Nigerian goalkeeper Uzoho pushed the Argentine’s terrific free kick off the far post.

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[ LIVE: World Cup scores ]

But Nigeria found its way to the scoresheet when Javier Mascherano was not given the benefit of the doubt for holding in the box on a corner kick.

Wilfred Ndidi blazed a shot over the bar in the 71st minute as Nigeria looked to put an end to all doubt.

Nigeria had another chance to put it to bed in the 75th minute when Marcos Rojo headed a ball off his arm, but the referee said there was no intent.

Gonzalo Higuain should’ve had it 2-1 in the 81st, but missed horribly with a cutback pass into the 18.

Argentina backstop Franco Armani made an outstanding in-tight save in the 82nd to keep the Albiceleste’s hopes alive.

And then what happened? Talk to ‘em, Andy:

Follow @NicholasMendola