Thursday 19 July 2018

Ahmed Musa at the double as Nigeria beat Iceland

The result leaves three teams battling for qualification alongside Croatia in Group D.

Ahmed Musa fired Nigeria to victory (Darko Vojinovic/AP)
Ahmed Musa fired Nigeria to victory (Darko Vojinovic/AP)

By Press Association Sport staff

Ahmed Musa scored twice as Nigeria bounced back from their opening defeat to beat Group D rivals Iceland 2-0.

Leicester forward Musa opened the scoring early in the second half and fired home another brilliant goal in the 75th minute to put Nigeria in control.

Iceland’s Gylfi Sigurdsson missed an 83rd-minute penalty as Nigeria’s victory ensured they, Iceland and Argentina can all still qualify for the knockout stage of the World Cup with one game to play.

Iceland held Argentina to a 1-1 draw in their opening match and made the better start.

Sigurdsson’s early free-kick was well saved by Nigeria goalkeeper Francis Uzoho, who then gathered another effort from the Everton midfielder.

Nigeria, who lost their opening game 2-0 against Croatia, had a much better shape to their side and slowly played themselves into the match.

Leicester pair Kelechi Iheanacho and fellow forward Musa, plus defender Kenneth Omeruo all started and the Super Eagles enjoyed plenty of possession.

Both sides failed to carve out any further chances before Birkir Bjarnason just failed to latch on to Birkir Saevarsson’s excellent diagonal cross in the 37th minute.

Iceland finished the first half on top, with Alfred Finnbogason firing wide following a fine cross from Sigurdsson.

Nigeria, for all their possession, failed to trouble Iceland’s defence and did not have one shot on target as the first half ended goalless.

The Super Eagles’ coach Gernot Rohr sent on Tyronne Ebuehi for fellow defender Brian Idowu during the interval and his side made a flying start to the second half.

Victor Moses collected a headed clearance and burst down the right and his cross was brilliantly controlled in the penalty area by Musa, who lashed home his side’s first goal of the tournament to give Nigeria a 49th-minute lead.

Wilfred Ndidi’s effort was then saved by goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson as Iceland were rocked.

Heimir Hallgrimsson’s side regained their composure but Nigeria were now full of running and continued to threaten.

Musa made and finished his second goal as the Super Eagles took control. The Leicester forward, whose curling effort rattled Iceland’s crossbar a minute earlier, raced into the penalty area and drew Halldorsson before firing home.

Iceland were handed a lifeline in the 80th minute following Ebuehi’s challenge on Finnbogason in the area.

New Zeland referee Matthew Conger consulted with VAR before awarding a penalty, but Sigurdsson sent his spot kick over the crossbar.

Iheanacho fired wide for Nigeria in the closing stages and Finnbogason’s angled drive was saved by Uzoho at the other end, but time ran out for Iceland.

Press Association

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