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Friendly under FIFA scanner

sports Updated: Jun 05, 2011 01:05 IST
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FIFA is investigating Argentina’s 4-1 loss in Nigeria on Wednesday after betting patterns suggested it was targeted by match-fixers. It’s the highest profile match yet in a wave of suspicious recent international friendlies often with goals scored from penalty-kicks.

The match “was one that we had an active interest in and forms part of a wider ongoing FIFA investigation,” football’s world governing body said.

Referee Ibrahim Chaibou of Niger awarded two penalties —one to each side — in Wednesday’s game between two teams. Nigeria took a 2-0 lead with a 26th minute spot-kick after Chaibou awarded a foul against Argentina defender Federico Fazio. Argentina fielded a below-strength lineup without Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Angel di Maria.

Meanwhile, Argentina great Diego Maradona said, match-fixing scandals will continue as long as FIFA is run by “dinosaurs”. “When you have so much power, you can do so many stupid things as is happening in FIFA,” Maradona said. “Everyday, there is corruption, match-fixing scandals.”