John Mikel Obi

Super Eagles captain Mikel Obi believes his team gave their very best in their 2-1 defeat to Argentina in their final Group D fixture at the Russia 2018 World Cup.

Obi added that Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakin accepted that the ball struck the hand of Argentina’s defender Marcus Rojo in the 82nd minute, but refused to award a penalty.

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Speaking at the post match briefing in St Petersburg, Mikel said: “It’s what it is. Nothing to say. We conceded two goals, we did everything we could.

“I think my team did everything we could, we stood our ground.”

Mikel added: “I asked the referee if he thought the ball struck Rojo’s hand and he said ‘yes;. The refeee told me that the ball came off Rojo’s head before it hit his hand.

“I then asked Cakur why he didn’t award the penalty to Nigeria, he said: ‘ I don’t know.’ That was sad because we checked the match video in the dressing room and it was a clear penalty kick.

“When the ball touches your hand in the penalty box, it’s a penalty. No two ways about that. Maybe he didn’t want to give us the second penalty. It is sad we had to exit the competition this way.

“The same referee was inconsistent. Twenty four hours earlier in the same circumstances, he gave a panelty to Iran against Portugal.”