Red-hot Super Eagles melt Iceland with Musa’s brilliant brace
Musa scored two brilliant goals to help the Super Eagles of Nigeria to a 2-0 win over Iceland.
An Ahmed Musa brilliant brace, two goals in the second half killed off a very physically imposing Iceland to give the Super Eagles hopes of reaching the round of 16.
It was a win the Super Eagles players said was coming but Nigerians didn’t believe them. Who would? After that shocking performance in their 2-0 loss to Croatia.
But when Croatia dismantled Lionel Messi’s Argentina 3-0, then the Super Eagles effort were a little bit appreciated.
The 24 hours later, John Mikel Obi-led Super Eagles lined up against Iceland who had garnered respect and admirers with their solid performance in their first game of the 2018 World Cup, holding Argentina to a 1-1 draw.
A loss, the Super Eagles would be coming home to dismayed and angry Nigerians and at the mercy of the mockery of the whole world who had watched as Nigeria’s Nike jerseys dominated headlines.
Tactical changes from Rohr
Having faced huge criticisms over some of his tactical decisions in the 2-0 loss to Croatia, Super Eagles boss Gernot Rohr rang the changes in his starting XI, bringing in Ahmed Musa, Kenneth Omeruo and Kelechi Iheanacho and dropping Shehu Abdullahi, Alex Iwobi and Odion Ighalo.
He made some tactical changes also, switching to the 3-5-2 set-up with Victor Moses moving back to right wing-back, a role he is very familiar with at Chelsea.
Mikel Obi’s role as a 10 was also vilified after the game against Croatia and for Iceland, he played deeper with Oghenekaro Etebo playing further.
The Icelanders started to cause troubles for the Super Eagles early on, Gylfi Sigurðsson whipping in a nice freekick which Super Eagles goalkeeper Francis Uzoho handled very well.
In the fifth minute, Sigurdsson tried a shot from just outside the area which was well saved by Uzoho. As the game went on the Super Eagles settled in, holding the ball around without b doing much with it.
The Super Eagles gradually started to get near the Icelanders’ 18-yard-box and in the 16th minute, a Wilfred Ndidi header was well defended.
Moses was threatening from the right and a burst in the box troubled the Icelanders but his pass slipped past an onrushing Musa.
In the 20th minute, Iceland had a half-chance but a Kári Árnason shot inside the Nigerian box was blocked by Moses.
The Super Eagles pressed again in the 25th minute but a Musa cross into the Iceland box could not get to Iheanacho.
Both sides were very careful at this point and not much happened in the game for a few minutes as Nigeria and Iceland refused to take risks.
An Etebo freekick evaded everyone in the Iceland box before the Icelanders troubled the Super Eagles from a couple of set-pieces which was well defended.
Iceland ended the first half on top, getting some dangerous crosses into the Super Eagles box but could not get their goal.
Rohr took out Brian Idowu and introduced Tyronne Ebuehi in left-back in his only change after halftime and the Super Eagles got off to a good start in the second half.
Etebo drove forward but his low shot was comfortably saved by the Iceland goalkeeper.
A brace from Musa
Then in the 49th minute, Musa opened the scoring for Nigeria, calmly controlling a cross from Moses before finishing past Hannes Þór Halldórsson.
Musacontinued from where he stopped in Brazil 2014, scoring Super Eagles last two goals of that tournament.
The Super Eagles were on top now, Ndidi trying his luck from a distance which Halldórsson tipped over his post for a corner.
Iceland recovered too and troubled the Super Eagles with a slew of set pieces. A corner caused a small confusion in the Nigerian box but Moses cleared. Iceland attacked but Super Eagles held on.
Iceland got a chance after Ndidi conceded a free kick close to the area but Sigurdsson’s effort didn’t trouble Uzoho.
Moses caused a lot of trouble for the Icelanders from the right and got a chance in the 62nd minute but his shot was blocked. Etebo had an effort blocked too as the Icelanders defended well.
In the 73rd minute, Musa almost doubled Nigeria’s lead but his shot from just outside the area hit the post.
A minute, he doubled Nigeria’s lead, picking up a pass from Omeruo before beating an Iceland defender, skipped past Halldórsson before calmly finishing for Super Eagles second goal.
The Super Eagles finally announced themselves at World Cup 2018 and Iceland were done.
They got a chance in the 83rd minute through a VAR-assisted penalty but Sigurdsson’s blew his effort way over.
Super Eagles now go into their last game against Argentina knowing that a draw will take them to the round of 16.