Messi late show secures win

A late Lionel Messi strike secured all three points as Argentina beat a resilient Iran side 1-0 in their World Cup Group F clash to qualify for the last 16.

Last Updated: 22/06/14 at 06:48 Post Comment

Lionel Messi: Celebrates after scoring winner in Argentina's 1-0 win over Iran

Lionel Messi: Celebrates after scoring winner in Argentina's 1-0 win over Iran

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Carlos Queiroz’s side looked to have gained a valuable draw and had opportunities to steal a win themselves, notably through a couple of Reza Ghoochannejhad efforts in the second half.

Argentina dominated the majority of the game but their star frontline of Messi, Angel Di Maria, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain lacked their usual cutting edge in the final third.

But, when it looked like Iran had grabbed a remarkable point, Barcelona's Messi curled in a trademark effort past a sprawling Alireza Haghighi to guarantee Argentina’s place in the last 16.

Iran had the first chance of the game when Fulham’s Ashkan Dejagah whipped in a superb free-kick onto the head of an unchallenged Jalal Hosseini, who glanced his header wide of Sergio Romero’s goal after just four minutes.

Argentina’s first major opportunity came when Fernando Gago slipped the ball through to an onrushing Higuain, but the Napoli striker hit it straight at goalkeeper Haghighi from six yards out.

Alejandro Sabella’s side continued their pressure but were denied by Haghighi once again when Aguero’s goal-bound effort was palmed away by the Rubin Kazan stopper.

Iran spent most of the first half camped in their own half and were seemingly delaying the inevitable, with Marcos Rojo spurning another Argentine chance after heading wide from six yards.

Continuing to dominate possession, Messi dinked a free-kick towards Federico Fernandez, but it was taken off his head by team-mate Ezequiel Garay who headed it high over the bar.

With just five minutes remaining in the first half, Dejagah’s corner found Hosseini once again and the right-back, who had more shots than he made passes in the first half, was agonisingly close to giving his side a shock lead after heading over the bar.

Queiroz’s side came into the game as 25/1 outsiders, but went into the half-time break with a clean sheet still remarkably intact.

After the restart, Argentina unsurprisingly continued their onslaught on the Iranian backline and, after Messi fed through Pablo Zabaleta, the right-back scooped his effort high and wide of Haghighi’s goal.

Iran then broke on the counter with Pejman Montazeri, who delivered a wonderful ball into the area which was met by Ghoochannejhad, who had broken free of his marker, but the Charlton Athletic striker’s header was stopped comfortably by Romero.

The Middle Eastern side then had a huge shout for a penalty after Dejagah was brought down in the area by Zabaleta, but referee Milorad Mazic ruled that the Manchester City man had got a touch on the ball.

Having spent a large majority of the game absorbing pressure, Iran’s confidence grew as Argentina’s nerves began to show, with Garay almost diverting an Iranian cross into his own net.

Moments later, Montazeri delivered a sumptuous cross into the heart of the Argentine area and Dejagah’s looping, goal-bound header was magnificently tipped over by Romero to spare Sabella’s blushes.

Argentina’s frustrations grew as Messi’s 20-yard free-kick crashed into the side-netting, while Di Maria drilled a close-range shot straight into the grasp of Haghighi.

But, in stoppage time, Messi was given room to manoeuvre and cut in from the right-hand side before curling an unstoppable effort into the far corner to break Iranian hearts, and send the droves of Argentinian fans into delirium.

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

T

here is a percentage of people from England that are highly xenophobic and or racist, so to always have on in the national team seems like a good depiction of our society. Fair play.

cortexk5
Stones, Shelvey and Vardy start

W

inners: F365 for not getting so caught up in transfer deadline day, for getting rid of the ridiculous live blog and for having jobs where all they do is talk about football.

man of ire
Transfer Window Winners & Losers...

P

ictorially, this would be represented by a rotund lady, arms folded screaming, ' you been told, stay away from my man'.

mufc phil
United respond on De Gea

Footer 365

Matteo Darmian: United not apex of career

Matteo Darmian does not see Manchester United as the 'apex' of his career.

Chelsea accused of 'warehousing' players

PFA chief Gordon Taylor has admitted he is "worried" by Chelsea's "warehousing" of players with 33 of their squad out on loan.

Stones, Shelvey and Vardy start for England

Roy Hodgson has confirmed that John Stones, Jonjo Shelvey and Jamie Vardy will start against San Marino on Saturday afternoon.

Mail Box

Why Aren't Manchester City Criticised More?

Manchester City aren't being criticised enough for their spending. Also, the David De Gea situation is explained in full and we have a running Winners and Losers table.

Wenger Guilty Of The Most Negligent Of Acts

Arsene Wenger comes in for a lot of Danny Welbeck based flak in the Mailbox. We also have a happy Spurs fan, and someone pleading to stop the Van Gaal revisionism.

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company