Monday, June 16, 2014 1:17 am
A moment of brilliance from Lionel Messi helped Argentina to a 2-1 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina at the Maracana, Rio De Janeiro in the opening match of Group F at the ongoing World Cup.
Playing their first ever World Cup match, Bosnia fell behind inside two minutes after a Messi free-kick was turned in by Bosnian defender Sead Kolasinac.
Rather than be discouraged, the Bosnians asserted themselves on the match and matched their more illustrious opponents though their final ball let them down on a number of occasions.
For Argentina, Messi received keen attention from the Bosnia defenders for the rest of the first half while strike partner Sergio Agüero was equally anonymous in the opening half.
That led Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella to bring on Gonzalo Higuain at half-time to help upfront and the Napoli striker duly obliged by setting up Messi to score Argentina’s second just past the hour mark.
A backheel from Higuain found Messi, who then evaded three Bosnia defenders before curling a low shot past Asmir Begovic for only his second ever World Cup goal.
Not giving up, Bosnia coach Safet Susic brought on Vedad Ibisevic to pair with Edin Dzeko upfront and the substitute pulled one back minutes after coming on to become the scorer of Bosnia’s first ever World Cup goal.
Ibisevic’s strike five minutes from time set up a frantic finish with both sides failing to convert a number of late chances created, with Argentina holding on for a hard-fought 2-1 win.