FIFA to probe betting on Nigeria v Argentina match

ABUJA, June 4, 2011 (AFP) - FIFA are investigating reports of unusual betting patterns following Nigeria's defeat of Argentina in an international friendly Wednesday, it was reported Saturday.

Nigeria ran out 4-1 winners against a largely second-string Argentinian side in the friendly encounter in Abuja.

Ike Uche scored twice and Victor Obinna once to put the hosts three up at the break, while Emmanuel Emenike made it four in the second half.

Argentina did not score until eight minutes into injury time -- only five having been signalled -- when Joseph Yobo was penalised for a handball by referee Ibrahim Chaibou of Niger and Mauro Boselli scored from the penalty spot.

It is claimed a high number of bets were placed for there to be another goal with the score at 4-0.

FIFA said in statement released to the Daily Telegraph: "FIFA can confirm that this match between Nigeria and Argentina was one that we had an active interest in, and forms part of a wider ongoing FIFA investigation."

However, later on Saturday the Nigerians hit back with the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) issuing a statement from general secretary Musa Amadu claiming some people wanted to besmirch their historic win.

"We are concerned at attempts by unscrupulous elements to play down the feat that our national team performed by beating Argentina.

"This match was shown on many television stations, including ESPN, and in front of a crowd of 50,000, and we are certain that Nigeria's Super Eagles deservedly won that match, playing to the rules, and clearly outplaying our opponents.

"We are unaware of any suspicious motives in this game. The game was competitive enough, and our team showed resolve. 

   "We also believe that the Argentina team came and showed a clear intention to win that game, and we are therefore disturbed by the allegations of match-fixing that is seen by us as a calculated attempt at ruining our moment of triumph. 

   "We won this match fair and square, against an Argentina team that also came to play and win, and there remains, to the best of our knowledge, no untoward motives to this game than to play it fairly and win it fairly."

   However, the NFF also pledged to assist FIFA in their investigations.

"We will do everything we can to assist FIFA in their investigations into this matter, and we would also set up an internal enquiry to look into this match. We will put all these measures in place in the spirit of fair play and transparency," they said.

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