Two goals from Ahmed Musa in the second half handed the Super Eagles a lifeline in Russia 2018.
The Leicester City forward, who went on loan to CSKA Moscow in January, scored a contender for goal of the tournament and then used his pace to get Nigeria’s second.
Iceland lost the chance to get half the deficit when Gylfi Sigurdsson blasted a penalty over the bar. The Eagles thus have destiny in their own hands when they play against Argentina next Tuesday.
Omeruo gave away the first throw in as the Eagles lost the ball straight from kickoff. Kari Arnason then won a free kick for a push by Brian Idowu in the second minute. The Icelanders had settled the fastest.
Francis Uzoho palmed away Gylfi Sigurdsson’s free kick for a corner in just the second minute. The 19-year-old had to be concentrated to hold on to another shot from Sigurdsson in the fifth minute.
Moses won Nigeria’s first corner through Moses on seven minutes that was cleared for a throw. Omeruo’s header was comfortable for Hannes Halldorsson.
There was a lull in the action by the 10th minute as both teams settled into their match patterns and Iceland supporters started their ‘Thunderclap’. Mikel tripped Sigurdsson in the 15th minute with Gernot Rohr gesticulating wildly on the touchline.
Boovarsson shot into Moses’ midriff in the 21st minute and stayed down for some seconds as Iceland had their second corner, which quickly became three, which was headed clear by Ekong. Nigeria had 66% of the possession by the 25th minute. Omeruo fouled Rurik Gislason around midway of the pitch for another free-kick to Iceland.
On 30 minutes, Kelechi Iheanacho dinked a ball over Ragnar Sigurdsson and was brought down for a free kick. Birkir Bjarnason flashed a shot over the bar on 34 minutes. Balogun just got his head on a dangerous cross to clear the danger in the 36th minute.
Moses won a free kick near the corner post on 37 minutes as the Eagles tried to pry open the Icelandic defence. Seaversson headed away the free kick and though the Eagles kept the ball alive, they could not threaten Iceland goalkeeper.
Musa was caught offside as the Eagles tried to counter and then nudged Halldorsson to give Iceland a cheap free kick. Nigeria won her second corner in the 42nd minute but Iheanacho’s kick is wide of any target.
Bryan Idowu was shown the first yellow card for a careless foul on Dadi Boedvarsson and the Icelanders could have taken the lead but Finnbogason could not direct his effort on target.
Moses lost the ball on the edge of the Iceland box and Boedvarsson had another headed chance but it went wide. The Eagles had 61% of possession but did not get any shot on or off target while Iceland with 39% possession had two shots on target, four corner kicks and had covered 51Km to Nigeria’s 47.
Nigeria became the first team to not have a single shot in the first half of a World Cup game since South Korea vs. Algeria in 2014. Ineffective!
Tyronne Ebuehi came on for the ineffective Idowu and it seemed the Eagles immediately became a more offensive team.
Etebo went bursting forward from defence and got Nigeria’s first shot on target though he could have passed off the ball to Moses, who was in acres of space.
What a goal! Beautiful control and shot from Ahmed Musa and the ice was broken five minutes into the second half. Musa had won the header in the middle of the pitch and led the breakaway. More energy and direct running from the Eagles at the start of the second half gave the Eagles a needed goal.
Sigurdsson was treated extensively on the pitch after his head was bloodied as Musa spun away to celebrate the goal. There were shouts for a foul on Ebuehi, which the referee.
Wilfred Ndidi tested Halldorsson in the 57th minute and the goalkeeper had to divert the goal-bound effort for a corner.
Moses charged down a Magnusson cross for a corner in the 58th minute as the Iceland fans roared in the stands. Ndidi was forced to foul Gislason on 62 minutes as space opened up for the Icelander. Ingason came on for Sigurdsson with 25 minutes left on the clock.
Moses sent a fierce shot at the Iceland goalkeeper in the 65th as the Eagles pushed for a second goal. Gislason picked up the ball in the half of Nigeria and ran at the defence but his end product was a high shot. Etebo tried another pot from distance in the 68th minute but the shot was charged.
Ekong then went for a spectacular diving header on 70 minutes but it went well wide. Moses should have done better with a ball won and the Eagles in numbers but he miscued his pass. Balogun then headed over from the corner taken by Iheanacho. Etebo teed up Musa in the 74t minute but his curling effort came back from the crossbar.
Musa then trumped his first goal as he ran around the Iceland defence an Omeruo clearance before coolly slotting home for his and Nigeria’s second of the match. Omeruo was then solid as he held off Bjarnason. Omerua and Ebuehi then got in a muddle and handed Iceland a way back into the game with a cheap penalty.
Sigurdsson stepped up and blasted over the bar in the 82nd minute to again hand the Eagles a great reprieve. Iheanacho shot wide and was subsequently replaced by Odion Ighalo in the 84th minute.
Uzoho made a great save from Skulason a minute afterward as the Eagles preserved their two-goal lead. Odion Ighalo and Alex Iwobi came on for Iheanacho and Etebo in the last five minutes. Moses cleared the danger in the box in the second minute of added time.
Mikel Obi needed treatment on an injured left wrist in the third minute of added time as Nigeria held on for a thoroughly deserved win and three points to go second in Group D.