Ahmed Musa struck both goals as Nigeria boosted their World Cup qualification hopes with a 2-0 defeat of Iceland, a result that is also good news for Argentina.
Lionel Messi’s team were pushed to the brink of an early exit after a stunning 3-0 loss to Croatia on Thursday, but victory in their final Group D game against Nigeria could now send them through to the last 16.
Musa was left out of Nigeria’s loss to Croatia but he justified his recall to the side with the opening goal shortly after the interval at the Volgograd Arena on Friday.
The forward controlled a cross from Victor Moses and thumped an unstoppable drive into the roof of the net, with Musa becoming the Super Eagles’ top scorer in the history of the tournament courtesy of his third World Cup goal.
Nigeria were poor in the first half – failing to record a single shot – but they were much improved after the break, Musa adding another to his personal tally in the 75th minute as Iceland’s rock-like resilience crumbled.
After Gylfi Sigurdsson missed a late penalty, Heimir Hallgrimsson’s side could be heading home from their first World Cup unless they beat already qualified Croatia and Argentina do not take three points against Nigeria, although goal difference could yet come into play.
Nigeria XI: Uzoho; Omeruo, Ekong, Balogun; Idowu, Ndidi, Mikel (C), Etebo, Moses, Musa, Iheanacho.
Subs: Ezenwa, Akpeyi, Iwobi, Ebuehi, Shehu, Ighalo, Nwankwo, Onazi, Obi, Ogu, Awaziem, Echiejile.
Iceland XI: Halldorsson; Magnusson, R. Sigurdsson, Arnason, Saevarsson; Bjarnason, Gunnarsson, G. Sigurdssn, Gislason; Bodvarsson, Finnbogason.
Subs: Schram, Runarsson, Fridjonsson, A. Gudmundsson, Ingason, J. Gudmundsson, Sigurdarson, Eyjolfsson, O. Skulason, Hallfredsson, Traustason, A. Skulason.