Nigeria bounce back at World Cup to beat Iceland 2-0

 

Ahmed Musa’s two goals led Nigeria to victory over Iceland. (Reuters pic)

VOLGOGRAD: Nigeria beat Iceland 2-0 on Friday to revive their hopes of advancing into the knockout stages of the World Cup in Russia, as striker Ahmed Musa dramatically marked his return to the team with two fine second-half goals.

The result left both sides, as well as struggling Argentina, still in the hunt to go through from Group D along with already-qualified Croatia.

But Argentina and World Cup debutants Iceland have to win their respective games against Nigeria and Croatia next week to have a chance of advancing.

In only the second win for an African side in Russia so far, Nigeria broke the deadlock in the 49th minute when Victor Moses, playing as a wing-back, lofted a pass towards Musa who deftly controlled the ball and smashed in the half volley.

Musa, recalled to the starting team by coach Gernot Rohr, made it 2-0 in the 75th minute when he found space on the left, beat Iceland defender Kári Árnason, and rounded goalkeeper Hannes Þór Halldórsson before slamming the ball into the net.

Iceland, roared on by thousands of fans from the tiny country, kept pushing and were awarded a penalty in the 80th minute when referee Matt Conger used the Video Assisted Referee system to confirm that striker Alfreð Finnbogason had been fouled by Tyronne Ebuehi.

But Iceland playmaker Gylfi Sigurðsson blasted his effort high over the bar.

The win vindicated the decision of Rohr to overhaul his attack after a limp 2-0 defeat to Croatia in Nigeria’s opener, bringing in Musa and Kelechi Iheanacho at the expense of strikers Odion Ighalo and Alex Iwobi.