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Rediff.com  » Sports » World Cup PHOTOS: Musa double powers Nigeria to victory

World Cup PHOTOS: Musa double powers Nigeria to victory

Last updated on: June 22, 2018 23:04 IST

IMAGE: Nigeria's players celebrate after Ahmed Musa, centre, scored the opening goal. Photograph: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

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, and struggling Argentina, still in the hunt to go through from Group D along with already-qualified Croatia.

IMAGE: Ahmed Musa beats Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson to score Nigeria's second goal. Photograph: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

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.

Francis Uzoho

IMAGE: Nigeria goalkeeper Francis Uzoho reacts after Ahmed Musa scored the second goal. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

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 Kari Arnason and rounded goalkeeper Hannes Por Halldorsson 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 Alfred Finnbogason had been fouled by Tyronne Ebuehi.

IMAGE: Nigeria goalkeeper Francis Uzoho makes a save. Photograph: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

But Iceland's playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson 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.

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