After losing their first group match to Croatia, all hopes dashed for Nigeria to make any progress in the 2018 tornament.
But all that changed last night as Nigeria bounced back onto the group table with a 3 points lead after winning Iceland 2- 0.
This would be the fifth time Nigeria has won a match in the world cup all against an European side.
The clash between Nigeria and Iceland began rather slow and sluggish for Nigeria throughout the first half. Nigeria had no single shot on target throughout the first half.
At this point, Iceland had had several shots on target just as they did with Argentina. Despite knowing how crucial winning this match was, the Super Eagles failed to make an impact during the first half.
As Nigeria desperately struggles to convert, they got into trouble when at 44 minutes, Nigeria’s Idowu clatters into Iceland Bodvarsson, a foul earning him a yellow card.
With 10 crosses from open play with none making any impact, it seems Nigeria lacked confidence penetrating the opponent’s box.
First half disappointingly ends with no scores.
Nigeria emerges for the second half looking rather spirited, energetic, more enthusiastic. Idowu makes way for Ebuehi.
Nigeria begins to dominate their opponent displaying a spectacular skill and presence. The energy was palpable.
Musa’s speed, Etebo’s drive combined with Moses’s ability to collect ball and keeping pace on the right flank gave Nigeria a huge leverage. Mikel Obi has become insignificant, almost unnoticable.
Musa’s hunger could be felt, he moves in from the left onto the centre of Iceland box. Moses flips the ball across onto Musa who takes control mid air, confidently takes a super bullet shot delivering a fantastic thunderous finish. And it’s a goalllll for Nigeria.
Iceland makes two successive changes bringing in – S. Ingasson and B. Sigurdarsson at 65 and 71 minutes respectively.
Nigeria now more confident, intensifies the pressure. Doing everything to keep the ball on Iceland box.
Suddenly, it’s another counter attack, Musa again with a speed of light out runs the defender who was trying to pull his hand, he dribbles pass him, the goal keeper moves in, and Musa chances him. Now confused, the two Iceland defenders find themselves staying in for the goalkeeper, but it was too late as Musa picks his spot keeping his composure and quickly launching a well calculated shot that thunders right into the net. Nigeria takes a clear lead. Musa sets record scoring the 2 best goals of the tornament so far.
Desperate Iceland charges back on Nigeria causing confusion in the box, Nigeria’s defender tackles bringing down the striker. A penalty is awarded. Fortunately, G. Sigurdasson shots the ball over the bar and that’s Nigeria saved from the nightmare.
The match is continued for few more minutes and at 90+7, it was full time. Nigeria is relieved and back onto the group D score board with 3 point just following Croatia leaving Iceland and Argentina at 1 point each.
Nigeria needs to win Argentina if Iceland wins Croatia to go through
Or Nigeria may also go through with a draw if Iceland draws with Croatia. In any case, Nigeria needs to win her next match to comfortably scale through.
Congratulations so far Ahmed Musa man of the match and Nigeria.