Heinze gives Argentina nervous win over Nigeria | sports | Hindustan Times
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Heinze gives Argentina nervous win over Nigeria

sports Updated: Jun 13, 2010 02:26 IST
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A first-half goal by Gabriel Heinze got Argentina's World Cup finals campaign off to a winning start in Johannesburg on Saturday as they beat Nigeria 1-0 in their Group B clash.

While coach Diego Maradona will be pleased at getting the three points he will be looking to his strikeforce to convert more chances after they missed a hatful here.

World footballer of the year Lionel Messi had been in irresistible form in the first-half as Argentina threatened to overrun the Nigerians.

Only some acrobatic saves from goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama prevented Nigeria from going further behind after veteran defender Heinze had scored the opener in the sixth minute.

Messi brought a series of flying saves from Enyeama in the opening 45 minutes as the two-time champions often threatened with their excellent passing and running off the ball.

It was a rasping Messi volley tipped over the bar by Enyeama that indirectly led to the opening goal.

From Sebastian Veron's corner the unmarked Heinze dived in and headed powerfully past Enyeama.

Enyeama, who plays his club football in Israel for Hapoel Tel Aviv, also was called upon to pull off several top class saves in the second-half with two from Messi and also from Gonzalo Higuain, who had wasted two golden chances in the first-half.

South Korea head the group after they beat Greece 2-0 earlier on Saturday.