Lionel Messi saves the day once more just in the nick of time as Argentina defeats Iran 1 – 0 at Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte Saturday.
“A tense, grinding match,” Jonathan Mahler of The New York Times describes the match as Argentina’s attempts on penetrating the opponent’s defenses were futile as Iran kept them at bay.
Argentina was almost on the brink of defeat despite a relatively high possession rate of 70% all throughout the game. Iran simply infuriated the South Americans as they kept on defending.
Iran almost made a point when Ashkan Dejagah attacked with a header on the 67 – minute mark, but Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero’s quick reflexes tipped the ball and kept Iran from taking the lead.
Lionel Messi, Argentina’s star player, concludes victory for the team as he strikes with a left-footed shot with the help of Ezequiel Lavezzi just right on the 91 – minute mark, taking a point for the team just right before the match comes to an end.
“It was a difficult game to be honest,” Messi said. “They were able to close up at the back, so it was difficult for us to break down the defense. It was very hot for us,” he tells ABC News.
“When I saw that I had scored I was very happy, because we were in added time already and wanted to qualify for the next phase,” he further adds.
Neil Lennon, former Celtic manager on BBC Radio 5 live, commends Messi’s play in the game at BBC Sports. “Lionel Messi is the difference in so many games and he’s done it again. You know what he’s going to do, take a step and curl it, but there’s nothing the magnificent Iranians can do. It is just world class.”
Argentina now qualifies for the next round of the tournament, topping Group F with 6 points. They will soon face Nigeria at Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre on June 25, Wednesday.