22 June 2014

Nigeria: Nothing Extraordinary About Messi, Says Onazi

Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
Nigeria's Ahmed Musa provided striker Emmanuel Emenike with a low ball to score, but the goal was disallowed after an offside call which gave the Super Eagles cause to feel aggrieved.

The Super Eagles midfielder has said the Argentina talisman will be played against like every other opponent when they meet on Wednesday.

Nigeria midfielder Ogenyi Onazi has said that Argentina talisman Lionel Messi is a 'normal human being' and would play him as a team of ahead of their final Group F game on Wednesday.

The African champions defeated Bosnia-Herzegovina 1-0 in Cuiaba on Saturday to move second in the group, with four points, behind the South Americans, who have six and already qualified for the second round.

Wednesday's match would determine who tops the group. A draw in Porto Alegre will serve both teams well with Iran still in with a chance to qualify if they defeat already eliminated Bosnia and Nigeria lose by more than two goals.

"Messi is a normal human being, a football player," said Onazi to journalists. "Of course we have to strategize and make our plans to make sure we get things done [against Argentina]."

After a drab opening game against Iran, the Super Eagles played a better match with Bosnia, scored and defended in numbers. They were sometimes too cautious as they tried to hold on to their lead.

"We improved on our passes and our attacking and made sure we did everything as a team," the Lazio midfielder said.

"The coach gave some instructions for me to do, and I had to do it. I'm the one in charge in the midfield and I had to calculate how to move forward, when to come back. It was the game plan for the team."

Next week's match against the Albiceleste will the fourth time both teams have played at the World Cup, with the South Americans having won all three encounters, albeit narrowly.

After watching Iran hold them for more than 90 minutes before Messi scored a late clincher, the Super Eagles will hope to be able to stand their ground.

"We're taking every game step by step. No one gave us a chance and we are not ready to say much, we just want to go step by step," Onazi said.

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