Injuries & Suspensions
-- Sin Bin
-- Leading Goalscorers
| Batigol Makes History
Sunday June 2nd, 2002
Ibaraki -- (1-0)
Gabriel Batistuta scored Argentina's 101st
World Cup finals goal, to take his country to the top of the Group of Death -- a psychological advantage before they
meet England, in Sapporo,
Argentina only managed to beat Nigeria 1-0 but it could
have been more.
With Roberto Ayala out of the game through injury, the
captain's armband went to Juan Sebastian Veron -- who was keen to impress after what some
might call a disappointing season at Old Trafford.
The Manchester United midfielder combined well with Javier
Zanetti, Juan Pablo Sorin and Ariel Ortega but despite all their possession, Argentina
went into the break without a goal to show for it.
Both goalkeepers helped contribute to the stalemate:
Nigeria's Ike Shorunmu turning an Ariel Ortega strike over the bar in the 29th minute; and
Pablo Cavallero doing similar, to thwart Jay Jay Okocha, a couple of minutes later.
Argentina tried to thread balls through the Nigerian
defense, with Veron and Sorin attempting to find Ortega and Ortega looking for a way
Batistuta's 37th minute header, at the far post -- from
Veron's high, inswinging corner -- was a poor one but it should have served as a warning
to the Nigerians.
Half-time: Argentina 0 -- Nigeria 0
Argentina started the second half with Killy Gonzalez on
for Claudio Lopez and the Valencia striker soon made his presence felt.
Within a couple of minutes of the restart Batistuta, at the
far post for another corner, should have put Argentina in front but only managed to stab
the ball wide.
Time for Nigeria to bring on Pius Ikedia for Kanu.
After an hour, Veron tried something different with
Argentina's seventh corner (to Nigeria's two)..... but it was headed wide by Mauricio
A minute later, Sorin took a high ball from Ortega on his
chest, turned and shot..... only to see his effort tipped over the bar by Shorunmu.
Argentina continued to apply the pressure; Veron's
free-kick on the edge of the area, going out for a corner.
-- GOAL -- 1-0
From the corner, Gabriel Batistuta finally headed in at the far post,
with 63 minutes on the clock.
Argentina looked fired up after the goal and Batistuta,
with renewed confidence, should have scored his second.
Nigeria gave away too many free-kicks around the area,
which should be comforting for David Beckham, but
Argentina couldn't capitalise further.
With less than 20 minutes left in the game, Pius Ikedia
screamed down the right touchline, playing a quick one-two, and crossed into the area.
Unfortunately, Nigeria's finishing needed to improve to
make use of the few openings they did create.
Veron and Batistuta were replaced by Pablo Aimar and Hernan
Crespo -- the goalscorer later having a bandage applied to his calf.
After having a goal disallowed for offside, Nigeria were in
all sorts of confusion in their own area and were lucky to escape conceding a second goal,
three minutes from time.
In time added on, Ike Shorunmu made two fine saves from
Killy González, to keep the scoreline respectable.
Argentina 1 -- Nigeria 0
-- Add Your Comments
Player of the
Juan Sebastian Veron -- His corner created the history-making goal for Batistuta and he
proved to be the engine behind most of Argentina's attacking momentum.
Walter Samuel (51 mins)
Efe Sodje (74 mins)
Diego Simeone (90 mins)
12 Pablo Cavallero; 4 Mauricio Pochettino, 2 Roberto Ayala, 6 Walter Samuel, 8 Javier
Zanetti; 14 Diego Simeone, 11 Juan Sebastian Veron (16 Pablo Aimar -- 78 mins), 3 Juan
Pablo Sorin; 10 Ariel Ortega, 9 Gabriel Batistuta (19 Hernan Crespo -- 81 mins), 7 Claudio
Lopez (18 -- Killy González -- 46 mins).
1 Ike Shorunmu; 3 Celestine Babayaro, 6 Taribo West, 5 Isaac Okoronkwo, 16 Efe Sodje (15
Justice Christopher -- 73 mins), 2 Joseph Yobo; 4 Nwankwo Kanu (7 Pius Ikedia -- 48 mins),
10 Jay Jay Okocha; 9 Bartholomew Ogbeche, 10 Julius Aghahowa, 11 Garba Lawal.
Referee: Gilles Veissiere (France)
The last 16 continue on the road to
Yokohama, with four games in South Korea and
four games in Japan.