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70-CAPPED AHMED MUSA READY TO BREAK NEW GROUND AGAINST ARGENTINA

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BY KUNLE SOLAJA, SAINT PETERSBURG.

Nigeria’s speedy striker, Ahmed Musa is undoubtedly the man of the moment. His name dominates both the airtime and editorial space of publications in both Nigeria and Argentina.

In fact one Argentine on-line publication, TyCSports had an almost full biography of the Nigerian striker whose performance gave the necessary lifeline to the Super Eagles’ aspiration of going beyond Russia 2018 group stage.

Incidentally, the match he had on Friday was his 70th appearance for Nigeria as full international. He marked the occasion with two superlative goals. He goes hunting for another glory as Nigeria face Argentina on Tuesday in an encounter that determines whether Nigeria advances or whether Argentina will again crash out at the group stage as it happened in 2002.

For Musa who goes for his 71st cap against Argentina, he believes his goal scoring exploits will continue. “I always score against Argentina”, he remarked at the post match press conference on Friday.

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Truly, it was against Argentina he scored what has become Nigeria’s fast goal in the World Cup when he reacted with the speed of Rapid Response Squad to equalise for Nigeria in the fourth minute, barely 50 seconds after Lionel Messi had put Argentina ahead in the Brazil 2014 encounter four years ago.

Similarly, when Lionel Messi increased the tally a minute of added time in the first half, Musa responded fast with another strike two minutes after resumption of the second half.

Ahmed Musa reacts after scoring one of his two goals against Argentina four years ago.

  Besides, he scored in another brace in a pre-season match that Messi’s FC Barcelona played against Musa’s Leicester City.

“When I transferred to Leicester City and we played against Barcelona and Messi was in the pitch too, I scored another two goals, so I think in the next game anything can happen. Possibly, I’m going to score another two goals”.

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Musa may as well be a hero for both Nigeria and Argentina as the Argentines also feel that it was the Nigerian’s two goals that have put Argentina back into contention.

They feel that they can beat Nigeria and end up with four points to qualify.

With four goals, Musa is now Nigeria’s all-time top scorer at the World Cup and he joins the legendary Roger Milla of Cameroon as the only Africans to have scored brace in two different matches of the World Cup.

“I’m very good at breaking records and I’m happy now to be the top scorer at the World Cup for Nigeria.

“It’s not easy but I have to thank my coach for his support because if he didn’t believe in me he wouldn’t put me in the pitch.”
On the Tuesday’s match which holds equal importance for Nigeria and Argentina, Musa remarked: “We know the importance of the last game, it’s do-or-dieWe have to win, we can’t afford to lose. By the 95th minute we will know who carries the day and, by the grace of God, we are going to work very hard.”

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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