Lionel Messi scored a superb curling effort in injury time to send Argentina through to the last-16 of the World Cup against a disciplined and well coordinated Iran team.
The two-time champions have now recorded six points from their two matches in Brazil and will be looking ahead to Wednesday’s ‘dead rubber’ match against perennial foes Nigeria, with at least little or no pressure.
Coach Alejandro Sabella’s men came into Saturday’s clash with the Persian team knowing of their defensive capabilities, after they forced African champions Nigeria to a stalemate earlier in the week.
As expected Argentina were frustrated for long period by Iran, who even looked to be keen on staging the surprise of the tournament at some point, with Sergio Romero having to deny Ashkan Dejagah’s header.
Gonazalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero’s efforts were thwarted by a great Alireza Haghighi’s save.
But Messi shows some sublime skill to finally break the deadlock on 91 minutes with a fabulous strike.
Nigeria and Bosnia-Hercegovina are up next in the group, with the winner of the match set to join ‘La Selecste’ in the second round. A draw will blow the struggle for a second-place finish wide open.
It is however not yet over for the impressive ‘Team Melli’ as a Bosnia win over Nigeria or draw places them back into the race.