Unlucky break for Nigeria's Michael Babatunde

TOM DECENT
Last updated 12:19 26/06/2014

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For a split second, Nigeria's Ogenyi Onazi was annoyed when his shot on goal was blocked by a team-mate. That was until he realised he just broke his mate's arm in the process. 

In this morning's match between Nigeria and Argentina, Onazi dribbled the ball to within 10 yards of the box and wound up for a long-range shot on goal. 

He struck it perfectly and it might well have been the equaliser his team needed as they trailed 3-2, but the ball cannoned into the arm of striker Michael Babatunde, who just so happened to be right in the line of fire. 

Incredibly, the pure speed and power behind the strike broke Babatunde's arm on impact. Slow motion replays show the sickening moment in the 64th minute when Babatunde's arm bends backwards - an unfortunate situation of simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

We've seen players at this year's World Cup dive for anything - even hits from their own team-mates. We've seen a Cameroonian player head-butt one of his own men in a Zinedine Zidane 2006 World Cup final kind of way.

But you can't knock Babatunde for staying down longer than most after the sickening injury which forced him from the field immediately.

It is understood the 21-year-old will have surgery on his arm and sidelined for his team's do or die match against France on Tuesday morning. 

"I think he's got a broken hand and he's going for surgery right now as we speak," Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi said.

"So I'm not sure if he's still going to participate in this World Cup. But we'll see how he goes. But it's not good."

Babatunde, who plays for Ukrainian team Kryvbas Kryvyi Rih, was a surprise pick for the national team. He was named in the side ahead of Chelsea striker Victor Moses.

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- Sydney Morning Herald

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