Sunday 18 November 2018

Croatia cruise past Nigeria

Croatia 2 Nigeria 0

Croatia's Luka Modric celebrates with team mates after scoring his side's second goal. Photo: Reuters
Croatia's Luka Modric celebrates with team mates after scoring his side's second goal. Photo: Reuters

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Croatia took the early initiative in Group D as they saw off Nigeria in their World Cup opener at the Kaliningrad Stadium.

An own goal from Oghenekaro Etebo - set to play at Stoke next season - broke the deadlock just after the half-hour, with a penalty from Luca Modric after 71 minutes securing three points for Zlatko Dalic's men.

With the scores still goalless midway through the first half, Croatia had come closest to breaking the deadlock but Nigeria had looked a stronger side than the one that took on England in the recent warm up.

Croatia got the goal they had been pushing for just after the half-hour mark but it was unfortunate to come off new Stoke midfielder Etebo.

Modric's corner was flicked on by Ante Rebic on course to finding Mario Mandzukic, but the latter's header was deflected in off Nigeria's Oghenekaro at the far post.

Andrej Kramaric came close as he headed onto the roof of the net as Croatia searched for a second goal and they doubled their lead midway through the second half as Modric fired home from the penalty spot after William Troost-Ekong brought down Mandzukic in the box.

The former Tottenham midfielder hit the spot-kick to the right of Nigeria goalkeeper Francis Uzoho with some power after 71 minutes.

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