Nigeria used its top players in a warmup for an African Cup of Nations qualifier and dismantled a second-string Argentina 4-1 on Wednesday, helped by two first-half goals from Zaragoza striker Ikechukwu Uche.
Victor Obinna of West Ham also scored in the first half and Emmanuel Emenike of Turkey’s Fenerbahce added another early in the second half. Mauro Boselli scored a penalty for Argentina in second-half stoppage time.
Argentina was largely ineffective against the quicker Nigerians, often failing to connect on even routine passes. The South Americans played without stars like Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez, using reserve players based mostly with European clubs.
Only two of the Argentine players in Nigeria have been included in the preliminary squad for next month’s Copa America – defender Pablo Zabaleta of Manchester City and Ezequiel Garay of Real Madrid.
Nigeria took a 1-0 lead with its first attack, scoring in the 10th minute when Uche latched onto a cross from the right and beat keeper Adrian Gabbarini with a deflected shot.
Nigeria made it 2-0 in the 26th when Obinna converted a penalty after Federico Fazio’s foul.
Gabbarini came up with a diving save after a counterattack in the 34th, keeping the score to 2-0, but Nigeria struck again in the 40th and again it was Uche, who scored his second with a close-range, diving header from a perfect cross from the left.
Emenike wasted little time extending the lead, scoring on the counterattack in the 53rd as he cleverly chipped the ball over Gabbarini, who was caught far off his line.
Boselli added Argentina’s consolation goal, converting a penalty eight minutes into second-half stoppage time.
Nigeria used the match as a warm-up for this weekend’s qualifying match against Ethiopia in the African Cup of Nations.
Nigeria: Vicent Enyeama, Ambrose Efe, Joseph Yobo, Chibuzor Okonkwo (Mohammed Yusuf 67), Taiwo Taye, Mikel Obi, Joel Obi (Ogwude Fegor 72), Kalu Uche, Nsfor Obinna (Peter Utaka 79), Victor Anicheba (Emmanuel Emenike 44), Ikechukwu Uche.
Argentina: Adrian Gabbarini, Pablo Zabaleta, Ezequiel Garay (Mateo Musacchio 66), Federico Fazio, Emiliano Insua, Fernando Belluschi (Nicolas Bertolo 62), Mario Bolatti, Alberto Costa (Alejandro Cabral 57), Nicolas Gaitan, Mauro Boselli, Diego Perotti (Franco Jara 69).