Football

Aguero collapses at half-time as Argentina lose to Nigeria

Argentina striker Sergio Aguero collapsed in the dressing room at half-time before they lost 4-2 to fellow World Cup qualifiers Nigeria after taking a two-goal lead in a friendly in Krasnodar, Russia, yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The Argentine Football Federation said in a statement that Aguero, who scored in the first half, was taken away for routine examinations, but added: "The player is well".

His English Premier League club Manchester City said that the 29-year-old Aguero had been cleared by doctors to return to England as planned after he suffered what they called "a dizzy spell" and added that he will be assessed by their medical team ahead of Saturday's EPL trip to Leicester City.

"Sergio never lost consciousness and was taken to hospital for precautionary medical checks," City said on their official website.

Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli rested Lionel Messi following the 1-0 win over next year's World Cup hosts Russia on Saturday and it seemed that they could cope without him.

Ever Banega curled in a free-kick in the 28th minute and Aguero finished off a sweeping counter-attack eight minutes later. With that effort, Aguero overtook Hernan Crespo to move up to third on Argentina's list of all-time leading scorers.

But Aguero's former clubmate Kelechi Iheanacho inspired Nigeria's fightback.

First, he emulated Banega by scoring from a free-kick on the stroke of half-time and then set up the equaliser by pulling the ball back for Alex Iwobi to net seven minutes after the restart.

The Super Eagles took the lead two minutes later when Brian Idowu scored from a counter-attack. Iwobi completed the comeback in the 73rd minute, when he fired past goalkeeper Agustin Marchesin.

"It's a difficult game to explain," said Sampaoli.

"We played well in the first half, but something went wrong after the interval. We just failed to convert our chances. I'm concerned that we cannot find a worthy replacement for Messi."

Nigeria boss Gernot Rohr praised his team's resolve after the three-time African champions stormed back into the game.

"One could believe the match was already over after Argentina scored their second goal," said Rohr.

"But we managed to perform a comeback. My players are mentally strong, they showed strong will. I'm very happy with their performance." - WIRE SERVICES

ARGENTINANIGERIA