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Nigeria vs Argentina: Mikel exposes Turkish ref, hails gallant Eagles



Mikel Obi questioned the Video Assistant Referee decision which denied a Nigeria a second penalty in their last group match against Argentina in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday .The below – par South American side won the encounter 2 -1 in the controversial clash to land in the Round of 16 .

The match was tied at 1 – 1 and Nigeria were coasting towards the next round when the unlikely hero of the encounter Marcos Rojo headed the ball against his own arm in the box .

Nigeria , who had cancelled out Lionel Messi ’ s first – half goal through Victor Moses ’ well – taken penalty , appealed for a penalty .

Forty- one – year – old Turkish referee CuneytCakir was forced to consult VAR for a definitive verdict as the Nigerians insisted it was a penalty , before ruling that Rojo did not commit a foul .

Rojo went ahead to win the game for La Albiceleste , and the Super Eagles captain Mikel was left venting his fury at Cakir and VAR .

Speaking to reporters at the Mixed Zone after the match , the veteran former Chelsea midfielder only refused to hit the nail on the head – that his team were robbed .

However , the 31 -year – old , who guided the Eagles to a second round exit at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil , said , “ I have nothing against VAR but I would say it goes for the lesser teams and works for the big teams . ”

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Mikel said the referee admitted that the Manchester United defender headed the ball onto his own arm but refused to explain to him why he waved Nigeria ’ s penalty appeal .

He said , “ We ’ ve seen it again in the dressing room , it was a clear penalty . There wasn ’ t any way the referee could not give that .

“ The referee looked at the VAR . He said it hit the hand . I asked why he did not give us a penalty , he said he did not know . ”

“ We did everything we could , ” the South Africa 2013 Africa Cup of Nations winner said .

“ In the second half we pushed and pushed . It just wasn ’ t to be . It is a young team and in four years most of them will be ready for this tournament .

“ I ’ m very proud of the boys and what we have achieved . I think we have done really well . We have to keep going. ”