Posted by News Express | 22 June 2018 | 1,601 times
Nigeria’s hopes of advancing to the second round of the on-going FIFA World Cup in Russia became bright on Friday evening when the Super Eagles tamed Iceland in Volgograd, winning 2-0 to claim all three available points.
Coach Gernot Rohr had shaken up his forward line for the clash, bringing in Ahmed Musa and Kelechi Iheanacho among three changes for a match in which defeat would have seen them eliminated following their opening 0-2 loss to Croatia on Sunday. They replaced Odion Ighalo and Alex Iwobi, while Kenneth Omeruo took the place of Abdullahi Shehu in the defence.
The changes paid off as the Eagles overcame an early stage fright to come powerfully into the game.
After a barren first half, Nigeria took the lead nine minutes on the restart when Iheanacho found Victor Moses on the far right, who lobbed towards the Iceland goal mouth, where Musa stabbed in the opener.
Musa came close again on 71 minutes but his effort hit the upright. Four minutes later he waltzed from his left flank following an assist by defence man Kenneth Omeruo, beating his markers and goalie Hannes Halldorsson to find the net.
Hopes that Iceland, who drew one-all with Argentina on Sunday, would come back into the game started fizzling out from the 82nd minute when a penalty awarded after Tyronne Ebuehi tripped Alfred Finnbogason in the vital area was booted over the bar by midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson after goalkeeper Francis Uzoho had already dived to the right.
With the victory, Nigeria moved straight to the second position in Group D, behind Croatia, who have the maximum six points following Thursday’s 3-0 drubbing of Argentina.
The last group showdown comes up on Tuesday, with Nigeria squaring up with Argentina and Croatia meeting Iceland.
Nigeria’s Starting 11
Francis Uzoho, Bryan Idowu, Wilfred Ndidi, William Ekong, Leon Balogun, Ahmed Musa, Oghenekaro Etebo, John Obi Mikel (capt), Victor Moses, Kelechi Iheanacho, Kenneth Omeruo
Tyron Ebuehi, Odion Igalo, Alex Iwobi
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