Nigeria’s last group opponents at this year’s World Cup, Argentina have been blessed with yet another goalkeeper in their countdown plans, as The Argies can now count on Atletico Madrid back-up shot-stopper, Axel Werner as another candidate in the battle for their first choice gloves.
Werner is now staging a strong challenge to upstage four other keepers in the running to be Argentina’s number one at Russia 2018, following his emergence into the spotlight in place of Atletico’s injured first choice, Jan Oblak.
It happened on Wednesday, just a day before their Europa League home game against Lokomotiv Moscow of Russia, and Oblak was ruled out.
That was seven days after they sold Miguel Angel Mota to Real Sociedad, but Werner was there to fill in the club’s goalkeeping situation, as Atleti all of a sudden looked a little unstable between the sticks.
Oblak’s groin injury leaves a question mark over his status for Celta Vigo on Sunday, for which Atletico will again look to the rookie, Axel Werner, who comported himself well in Thursday’s 3-0 spanking of Lokomotiv.
His last official game was in December 2016 between Boca Juniors and Colón, but against Lokomotiv Moscow on Thursday, he was the only option Diego Simeone had to man the posts.
Before then, Oblak’s problems started against Copenhagen when he hurt his hand with a number of punched clearances.
Though he then recovered enough to play against Barcelona but now his groin has acted up, giving way to Werner to step up into the mainstream.
Aside from between the posts, Simeone looks set to make two changes out the field with Vrsaljko replaced by Juanfran and Correa coming in for Gabi.
Yuri Semin, Lokomotiv’s manager, will be looking to take advantage of Atlético’s weak point with Manuel Fernandes (12 goals) on the right hand side.
Simeone also called up Alex dos Santos from the Juvenil A side on Wednesday when he had three keepers but Oblak has been ruled out and Werner will again step in for Sunday’s match, in which he will wear number 53.