VOLGOGRAD, Russia (Reuters) – Nigeria beat Iceland 2-Zero to restore their hopes of advancing into the knockout phases of the International Cup in Russia on Friday as striker Ahmed Musa dramatically marked his go back to the workforce with two high quality second-half objectives.
The end result driven Nigeria as much as the second one qualifying spot in Staff D however each side, and suffering Argentina, are nonetheless within the hunt to move thru along side already-qualified Croatia.
Alternatively, Argentina and International Cup debutants Iceland should win their respective video games towards Nigeria and Croatia subsequent week to have any probability of advancing. Nigeria may just qualify with a draw if Iceland fail to overcome Croatia.
In handiest the second one win for an African aspect within the Russia International Cup thus far, Nigeria broke a stale impasse within the warmth of southern Russia within the 49th minute when wing-back Victor Moses lofted a move against Musa who deftly managed the ball and smashed within the half of volley.
Musa used to be at the bench for Nigeria’s limp defeat to Croatia of their opening sport in Russia, and the announcement of the Leicester Town striker’s identify within the beginning workforce on Friday drew thunderous cheers from Tremendous Eagles fanatics prior to the sport.
He made it 2-Zero within the 75th minute when he used his tempo to overcome Iceland defender Kari Arnason and rounded goalkeeper Hannes Por Halldorsson prior to slamming the ball into the web.
Iceland, who brought about one of the vital largest upsets within the match thus far by way of preserving two-time champions Argentina to a draw on Saturday, received a penalty when referee Matt Conger used the Video Assisted Referee gadget to substantiate that striker Alfred Finnbogason have been fouled by way of Tyronne Ebuehi within the 80th minute.
However playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson, Iceland’s maximum proficient participant of his technology, blasted his kick top over the bar.
The win vindicated the verdict of Nigeria’s German trainer Gernot Rohr to overtake his assault after the 2-Zero loss to Croatia, bringing in Musa and Kelechi Iheanacho on the expense of strikers Odion Ighalo and Alex Iwobi.
He additionally moved to a gadget the use of 3 central defenders flanked by way of wing backs, which looked as if it would give Nigeria extra zip, and informed John Obi Mikel to play deeper in midfield.
Rohr stated his aspect would no longer concern Argentina once they meet on Tuesday.
“We can play to win the sport,” he stated. “We performed them in a pleasant however there used to be no Messi then,” he stated, relating to Nigeria’s Four-2 in a pleasant when Lionel Messi used to be absent.
“We all know we will be able to do it, our self belief is coming again.”
Iceland, the smallest nation ever to play in a International Cup, had been roared on by way of a military in their fanatics.
However they ignored the tempo of winger Johann Berg Gudmundsson who used to be injured within the Argentina sport.
Trainer Heimir Hallgrimsson stated issues have been going to plot with the ratings Zero-Zero at halftime however the warmth of Volgograd, with temperatures of round 30 levels Celsius (86°F) during the sport, sapped his workforce.
“That’s a unusual indisputable fact that we nonetheless are within the race, and that’s amusing,” he stated. “We didn’t assume we might undergo this International Cup with out a loss. Losses are at all times arduous to swallow. We handiest wish to win (over) Croatia – however that may well be more uncomplicated stated than achieved.”
Further reporting by way of Philip O’Connor and Mark Gleeson; Enhancing by way of Hugh Lawson