Sports

Messi scores twice as Argentina takes 2-1 lead against Nigeria into halftime at World Cup

  • El delantero de Argentina Lionel Messi es levantado por Angel Dí María tras anotar un gol en el partido ante Nigeria por el Grupo F del Mundial en Porto Alegre, Brasil, el miércoles 25 de junio de 2014. (AP Foto/Michael Sohn)

    El delantero de Argentina Lionel Messi es levantado por Angel Dí María tras anotar un gol en el partido ante Nigeria por el Grupo F del Mundial en Porto Alegre, Brasil, el miércoles 25 de junio de 2014. (AP Foto/Michael Sohn)  (The Associated Press)

  • El nigeriano Ahmed Musa, izquierda, remata a gol en el partido ante Argentina por el Grupo F del Mundial en Porto Alegre, Brasil, el miércoles 25 de junio de 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

    El nigeriano Ahmed Musa, izquierda, remata a gol en el partido ante Argentina por el Grupo F del Mundial en Porto Alegre, Brasil, el miércoles 25 de junio de 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)  (The Associated Press)

  • Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during the group F World Cup soccer match against Nigeria at the Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Wednesday, June 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)(AP Photo/Jon Super)

    Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during the group F World Cup soccer match against Nigeria at the Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Wednesday, June 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)(AP Photo/Jon Super)  (The Associated Press)

Lionel Messi scored his third and fourth goals of the World Cup on Wednesday to give Argentina a 2-1 lead against Nigeria going into halftime of their Group F match.

Messi scored in the third minute, slamming in the rebound after Angel Di Maria's shot bounced off the post. But Nigeria's reply was swift as Ahmed Musa cut in from the left flank and beat Sergio Romero with a curling shot toward the far post.

Messi then curled in a perfect free kick just before the break to restore the lead.

Argentina striker Sergio Aguero was substituted for Ezequiel Lavezzi after picking up an injury.

Argentina only needs a draw to win the group, while Nigeria needs to make sure it doesn't lose to guarantee advancement to the second round.