A late Marcos Rojo strike fired Argentina to a 2-1 victory over Nigeria in St. Petersburg on Tuesday, a result which sent the South American giants through to the last 16 of the World Cup.
Coming into the game bottom of Group D, Argentina were staring a very embarrassing exit from the competition in the face.
Nigeria knew a win would see them progress to the knockout stages, and they impressed throughout the game, with speedy Leicester attacker Ahmed Musa always a threat.
However, it was Argentina who would open the scoring after just 14 minutes, with Lionel Messi finally making his mark on Russia 2018 with a sublime piece of control and finish after a superb pass from Ever Banega.
Messi almost netted his second of the game just after the hour-mark, with his well-struck free-kick forcing a fine save out of Francis Uzoho.
While Banega excelled in a deep-lying playmaker role, his veteran midfield partner Javier Mascherano struggled against a youthful, energetic Nigerian outfit.
The Super Eagles would eventually get a deserved equaliser early in the second-half, with Mascherano adjudged to have been holding Leon Balogun in the box, although the Nigerian certainly made the most of it.
Chelsea wing-back Victory Moses calmly converted the resulting spot-kick to put Nigeria back in the driving seat.
Indeed, if second-half sub Odion Ighalo had been more clinical in attack, his side could have pulled ahead.
Instead, it was Messi and co. who would net a dramatic late winner, courtesy of unlikely goal-hero Marcos Rojo, who produced the sweetest of right foot volleys to send the Argentina players, bench and fans wild.
A certain Mr. Diego Maradona seemed to like it too.
Indeed, the great man was his usual magnanimous, polite self throughout the clash…
The game would end 2-1 to La Albiceleste, who, after a tortuous group stage, live to fight another day, with France their Last 16 heavyweight opponents on Saturday.
As for Nigeria, a lack of potency in attack cost them dearly. However, Salisu Yusuf’s young side are sure to learn from what was a rollercoaster ride of a World Cup for them.