Published: Sat, June 23, 2018
Sport | By Stuart Potter

Musa magic helps Nigeria defeat Iceland

Musa magic helps Nigeria defeat Iceland

His twin strikes had a liberating effect on the young Nigerian team, who looked like a totally different side with the confidence that his goals imbued.

Musa made the game safe with a breathless second, controlling a long ball without breaking stride, beating Kari Arnason then rounding Halldorsson before powering his shot past two covering defenders on the line.

Iceland turned in an impressive performance Saturday in a draw versus Lionel Messi and Argentina in their first group-stage game, while Nigeria lost 2-0 to Croatia in their opening game of the tournament.

Lionel Messi and Co have just lost their second match against Croatia and find themselves bottom of the group, while Nigeria are now second and have their knock-out stage fate in their own hands.

Ahmed Musa struck the opener just after the restart with a sensational finish in order to hand Nigeria the lead.

Iceland were the side who set the pace early, with Gylfi Sigurdsson testing inexperienced 19 year old Nigeria goalkeeper Francis Uzoho a couple of times inside the first five minutes. "We've still got a shot", said Hlyur Gudjonsson, Icelandic Trade Commissioner to North America and the Consul General for New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

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Nigeria looked sluggish in its opening loss to Croatia, and started slowly in this game too.

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In the first half, Nigeria were sluggish and Moses really struggled to stamp his authority on the match, though Nigeria heavily neglected using the width of the pitch, which in turn nullified Moses influence on the pitch. He played a critical role in Nigeria's possession play and also helped out with some stunning tackling and ball-winning in the centre of the park.

The Croatians, who top the group on six points with Nigeria second on three and Iceland and Argentina on one apiece, may take the opportunity to rest players on Tuesday, but Hallgrimsson is taking nothing for granted.

Weather forecasters are predicting heat of 32 degrees Celsius at kick-off on Friday, 10 degrees hotter than when Iceland pulled off its draw with Argentina.

Musa, Nigeria's all-time leading World Cup scorer with four goals, gave his country the lead in the 49th minute after Victor Moses sprinted deep into the Iceland half and curled a cross to the near post.

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