Milton Mashasha Sports Reporter.
(News of The South) – Two SUPERB goals in the second half from the Super Eagles’s speedy forward Ahmed Musa in the 49th and the 74th minute gave the Nigerians team hope to qualify into the last final 16 of the Soccer World Cup tournament currently underway in Russia.
Prior to the match,the Super Eagles had only won just one of their 13 World Cup games with their only victory coming against Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2014 whilst their opponents Iceland drew their first ever World Cup game against Argentina a few days ago.
In their previous meeting,Iceland triumphed 3-0 way back in 1981 in a friendly match.In yesterday’s game,Nigeria dominated possession from the first minute of the game although they survived early warning shots from the Icelanders.The Nigerian goalkeeper Francis Uzoho had to be at his best to thwart those early raids by Gohr’s front runners.
The Iceland team that managed to hold the might Argentina to a 1-1 draw looked a dejected side as compared to their previous match.They were really struggling,always second to the ball,without any urgency.In the 44th minute the Nigerian defender Brian Idowu was then yellow carded by the referee.
A moment later, the Super Eagles survived another scare.The Iceland defender Ragnar Siguardsson whipped in a dangerous free kick from the right flank.The Nigerians failed to clear their lines and the Iceland nearly punished them for their sloppy defending but they shot wide.
The match went for a breather in a goalless scoreline.Of which Nigeria dominated possession but with less chances created whilst Iceland created better scoring chances but failed to put on their way.
In the resumption of the second half Nigeria brought in Ebuehi for Brian Idowu in the 46th minute.Nigeria then broke the dreadlock in the 49th minute through Ahmed Musa.A counter attack was initiated by Kelechi Iheanacho setting Victor Moses who outpaced his marker racing forward down the right flank before coolly lobbing the ball to the unmarked Ahmed Musa who then controlled the ball with precision before firing a volley home beating Hannes Por Halldorsson in goals for Iceland all systems out and giving the Super Eagles the deserved lead.
Iceland sensing danger they then brought in Ingason for the injured Ragnar Siguardsson in the 65th minute.Six minutes later,the Iceland coach then introduced Bjorn Siguardson for Jon Dadi Bodvarsson.In the 73rd minute the Nigerian defender Leon Balogun missed a glorious chance with a flashing header from a corner kick.The Super Eagles wonder kid Ahmed Musa doubled Nigeria’s lead in the 74th minute.
Musa made a solo run on the left flank weaving past his marker before rounding the Iceland goal keeper Hannes,he then calmly hammered home into the empty nets,with the Iceland goal keeper sprawling on the ground whilst the two defenders stood akimbo in an attempt to cover for the goalkeeper but the damage was already done.Seven minutes later,the Nigerian substitute Ebuehi looked like to have clipped the Iceland forward Alfred Finnbagasson in the Super Eagles’s 18 yard box but the referee waved play on with the decision only to be turned down after the review from VAR and the penalty was awarded to Iceland.
Gylfi Siguardsson stepped up in the 82rd minute but blazed the penalty over the bar and Nigeria survived again this time from the spot kick.Nigeria then brought in Odion Ighalo for Kelechi Iheanacho in the 85th minute.Two minutes,Iceland brought in Skulason for Aaron Gunnarsson.The Super Eagles then made their last substitution in the 90th minute introducing Iwobi for Oghenekaro Etebo.Musa would have scored a hatrick but lady luck was not on his side,his ferocious thunderbolt crushed against the crossbar with the Iceland goal minder a beaten man. It was indeed an important win for Nigeria.
Moreover it has thrown the group wide open,Argentina,Iceland and Nigeria can all join Croatia in the final 16 now.Ahmed Musa scored a fantastic brace and Nigeria’s pace in attack troubled a sluggish Iceland in the second half with Victor Moses and Ahmed Musa running riot on the right and left flanks respectively causing all sorts of problems for the Iceland defence.
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