Nigeria beat Iceland 2-0 to revive their hopes of advancing into the knockout stages of the World Cup in Russia on Friday as striker Ahmed Musa dramatically marked his return to the team with two fine second-half goals, Reuters reports.
The result pushed Nigeria up to the second qualifying spot in Group D but both sides, and struggling Argentina, are still in the hunt to go through along with already- qualified Croatia.
However, Argentina and World Cup debutants Iceland must win their respective games against Nigeria and Croatia next week to have any chance of advancing. Nigeria could qualify with a draw if Iceland fail to beat Croatia.
Nigeria broke a stale deadlock in the 49th minute when wing-back Victor Moses lofted a pass towards Musa who deftly controlled the ball and smashed in the half volley.
Musa made it 2-0 in the 75th minute when he used his pace to beat Iceland defender Kari Arnason and rounded goalkeeper Hannes Por Halldorsson before slamming the ball into the net.
Iceland, who caused one of the biggest upsets in the tournament so far by holding two-time champions Argentina to a draw on Saturday, won a penalty when referee Matt Conger used the Video Assisted Referee system to confirm that striker Alfred Finnbogason had been fouled by Tyronne Ebuehi in the 80th minute.
But playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson blasted his kick high over the bar.
The win vindicated the decision of Nigeria’s German coach Gernot Rohr to overhaul his attack after the 2-0 loss to Croatia, bringing in Musa and Kelechi Iheanacho at the expense of strikers Odion Ighalo and Alex Iwobi.
He also moved to a system using three central defenders flanked by wing backs, which seemed to give Nigeria more zip, and told John Obi Mikel to play deeper in midfield.
Rohr said his side would not fear Argentina when they meet on Tuesday.
“We will play to win the game,” he said. “We played them in a friendly but there was no Messi then,” he said, referring to Nigeria’s 4-2 in a friendly when Lionel Messi was absent. “We know we can do it, our confidence is coming back.”