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Friday, June 22, 2018

Ahmed Musa double hands Nigeria victory over Iceland

Ahmed Musa scored a brilliant second-half double to fire Nigeria to a 2-0 victory over Iceland and throw the second qualification spot in Group D wide open with one game remaining.

The Leicester City forward banished memories of a dreadful first half to put the Nigerians ahead four minutes after the interval when he expertly controlled a Victor Moses cross from a rapid break and rifled into the top corner past Hannes Halldorsson.

The Iceland goalkeeper was left flat on his backside for Musa's excellent second 25 minutes later, when the Nigerian collected a long ball on the left win, jinked around one defender, dummied past Halldorsson and then drove out of the reach of two Iceland players standing on the line.

Iceland had a prime opportunity to pull a goal back with 10 minutes remaining when VAR correctly overturned the referee's initial decision and ruled William Troost-Ekong had fouled Bjorn Sigurdarson inside the box. Everton midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson confidently stepped up to take the penalty, but blazed his effort over the crossbar.

The victory moves Nigeria up to second in the Group D table on three points behind Croatia (six points), with Iceland and Argentina on one point apiece. Lionel Messi's Argentina, who have been way below par in their first two matches - a draw with Iceland and defeat to Croatia last night - have been handed a lifeline with this result.

Nigeria, who had been woeful in losing to Croatia in their World Cup opener, were similarly ineffective for the first 45 minutes here, failing to muster a single shot in the first half.

But they came out all guns blazing a the start of the second period, the lively Oghenekaro Etebo testing Halldorsson within 30 seconds of the restart. 

Nigeria grew in confidence and created more openings as the game wore on and Iceland tired in the Volgograd heat, Musa's pace proving too much them to handle. The Leicester man, who spent last season on loan at CSKA Moscow, led the charge as Nigeria racked up 16 second half shots.

The result means Group D is the only of the four groups to have played two full rounds of matches in which every team is still in with a chance of making the second round.

Source: The Telegraph



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