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Musa’s brace sets the tone for Nigeria’s revival in Group D

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Nigeria’s forward Ahmed Musa (L) and Nigeria’s goalkeeper Francis Uzoho celebrate at the end of the Russia 2018 World Cup Group D football match between Nigeria and Iceland at the Volgograd Arena in Volgograd on June 22, 2018. Philippe DESMAZES / AFP

Ahmed Musa was touted as the player that would lead Nigeria’s revival following their opening game 0-2 loss to Croatia. And yesterday inside the Volgograd Arena, the Moscow-based attacker rose to the occasion with two goals that rekindled Nigeria’s quest for a second round spot.

It was not the easiest of games, but the Eagles, criticized for their inept performance against Croatia, found the fillip they needed to confound the taller Nords.

In the match watched by over 40,000 fans, Musa opened scores for the Super Eagles in the 49th minute when he masterfully brought down a Victor Moses cross to beat Hannes Halldorsson in goal for Iceland.

The striker, who started his first game in place of Odion Ighalo, made it 2-0 in the 75th minute when he dribbled past the entire Iceland defence, including goalkeeper Halldorsson to score his second goal for Nigeria in as many games.

Iceland had the opportunity to reduce the tally in the 80th minute when substitute Tyrone Eduehi was adjudged, through the video assistant referee (VAR), to have brought down Alfred Finnbogason. But Everton’s Gilfi Sigurdson blasted the ball way above the bar to keep scores 2-0 to Nigeria’s advantage.

What would have been the icing on the cake was a short by Wilfred Ndidi from outside the Iceland 18 yard box, which hit the post and bounced out of play to the relief of the bewildered Icelanders.

With the win, Nigeria has moved to the second position in Group D with three points and needs only a draw with Argentina on June 26 to qualify for the second round behind Croatia.

Argentina and Iceland have a point each, while leaders, Croatia has six points. Nigeria will only fail to make the second round if she loses to Argentina in the last group game and Iceland beat Croatia.


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