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Musa brace keeps Nigeria’s World Cup campaign alive

Nigeria 2 (Musa 49’, 75’)
Iceland 0

By Daniel Heinrich

A second half brace from Ahmed Musa has kept Nigeria’s World Cup campaign alive as Nigeria held out Iceland with a 2-0 victory.

Musa’s opener came after he controlled a Victor Moses cross with a freak-like first touch before rifling a half-volley into the back of the net.

His second was a fine individual effort when he outpaced Iceland’s defence, drew Iceland’s goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson off his line, rounded the keeper and placed the shot past two Icelandic defenders’ protecting the goal line.

The result sees Nigeria move to second in Group D. The Super Eagles are now a strong chance of progressing as a victory against Argentina next week will ensure they reach the knockout stages.

A draw for Nigeria against Argentina can also see them progress, but they would be relying on goal difference if Iceland manage to beat Croatia.

Despite the loss, Iceland still have a slim chance of progressing. However, they will need steal all three points from the in-form Croatia and hope Argentina hold Nigeria to a draw.

Iceland will be disappointed not to have taken, at the very least, a point from the match, as they looked the most likely of the teams to score in the first half.

Nigeria failed to record a single shot on goal in the first half but after the break, they capitalised on their possession dominance by creating numerous goal scoring opportunities. Musa and Moses proved to be a headache for the Iceland defence throughout the match.

Iceland had a chance to get back in the match when they were awarded a penalty after the VAR confirmed that Nigeria’s Tyronne Ebeuhi fouled Alfred Finnbogason in the box in the 83rd minute.

But Iceland’s star playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson spooned the spot kick over the bar and his team’s chances disappeared with the ball into the crowd.

Sigurdsson will feel he’s had better days after spurning two goal scoring chances within the opening 10 minutes, one of them a free kick just outside the box.

Musa has now scored four World Cup goals in two matches after he scored a brace against Argentina in 2014 in his only other appearance.

Nigeria’s coach Gernot Rohr will be hoping his side can recreate their second half performance when they play Argentina on Wednesday 27 June. On the same day, Iceland play Croatia seeking their first victory at the World Cup.

Match Statistics

Nigeria – 58%
Iceland – 42%

Shot Attempts (on target):
Nigeria – 16 (4)
Iceland – 10 (3)

Fouls Committed (Cards):
Nigeria – 9 (1 yellow- Idowu 44’)
Iceland – 10 (0)

Nigeria – 6
Iceland – 5

Nigeria – 1
Iceland – 0

Team Line-ups

Nigeria: 23 Uzoho (GK), 22 Omeruo, 5 Ekong, 6 Balogun, 11 Moses, 8 Etebo (90), 10 Obi Mikel (C), 4 Ndidi, 2 Idowu (46), 7 Musa, 14 Iheanacho (85)
Substitutes used: 21 Ebuehi (46), 9 Ighalo (85), 18 Iwobi (90)

Iceland: 1 Halldorsson (GK), 2 Saevarsson, 14 Arnason, 6 R. Sigurdsson (66), 18 Magnusson, 19 Gislason, 17 Gunnarsson (C) (87), 10 G. Sigurdsson, 8 Bjarnason, 22 Bodvarsson (71), 11 Finnbogason.
Substitutes used: 5 Ingason (65), 9 Sigurdarson (71), 23 A. Skulason (87).

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