Musa’s double downs Iceland as Nigeria come alive

Super Eagle: Ahmed Musa scored both goals in Nigeria’s 2 — 0 win over Iceland, in Volgograd. (Reuters)
Updated 22 June 2018
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Musa’s double downs Iceland as Nigeria come alive

  • Ahmed Musa, who came into the starting line-up in place of Alex Iwobi, announced himself with two of the goals of the tournament so far.
  • Iceland got a lifeline in the 82nd minute with a VAR-awarded penalty but dead-ball specialist Gylfi Sigurdsson blazed over the bar.

VOLGOGRAD: Ahmed Musa struck twice to become the first Nigerian to score at two World Cups Friday as the Super Eagles secured a crucial 2-0 win over Iceland, who missed a penalty.
The African side will secure a spot in the knockout stage if they beat Argentina on Tuesday in Group D’s final round of fixtures.
A draw would be enough to eliminate the Argentines but would leave Nigeria’s fate hinging on the outcome of Iceland’s game against Croatia.
Musa, who came into the starting line-up in place of Alex Iwobi, announced himself with two of the goals of the tournament so far.
Musa’s sweetly struck half-volley fired Nigeria into the lead just after half-time before he added a second with 15 minutes to go to make the Group D game safe.
Iceland got a lifeline in the 82nd minute with a VAR-awarded penalty but dead-ball specialist Gylfi Sigurdsson blazed over the bar.
With Croatia heading the group on six points Nigeria knew a second defeat would mean elimination and Iceland started brightest after coach Heimir Hallgrimsson changed to a 4-4-2 from the 4-5-1 he had used in the 1-1 draw with Argentina.
Alfred Finnbogason, who scored the equalizer against Argentina as a lone striker, was joined up front by Jon Bodvarsson and the pair quickly made an impact.
Captain Aron Gunnarsson launched a long throw into the box and, after Bodvarsson had made a nuisance of himself, a push gave Iceland a free-kick just outside the area.
Gylfi Sigurdsson struck it smoothly round the wall but 19-year-old goalkeeper Francis Uzoho was able to make the save high to his right.
Nigeria, with captain John Obi Mikel sitting deeper in midfield than against Croatia, slowly worked their way into the game with Victor Moses a constant threat on the right flank.
The pace inevitably dropped with the temperature still a stifling 31 Celsius at the 6:00 p.m. (1500 GMT) local time kickoff.
The match became a stalemate until 10 minutes before half-time when Iceland came close to opening the scoring but Leon Balogun’s glancing header just did enough to thwart Gylfi Sigurdsson and Birkir Bjarnason lurking at the back post.
And on the stroke of half-time Finnbogason came within a whisker of doubling his World Cup tally when he flashed wide Gylfi Sigurdsson’s whipped in free-kick.
Gerhot Rohr brought on wing back Tyronne Ebuehi for Bryan Idowu at the start of the second half and Nigeria came out full of running.
The tireless Moses was released down the right and his cross was met by Musa who teed up the ball deftly with the outside of his right foot before unleashing an unstoppable half-volley into the roof of the net.
As he wheeled away in celebration his knee caught Ragnar Sigurdsson in the back of the head and the Iceland defender needed treatment, a bandage and a change of shirt after sustaining a nasty cut.
Wilfred Ndidi forced Hannes Halldorsson into a fine fingertip save with a wickedly dipping shot from distance in the 58th minute.
Musa made the game safe with his second, controlling a long ball without breaking stride and beating Kari Arnason before rounding Halldorsson and powering his shot past two covering defenders on the line.


THE OPEN, DAY TWO: Who is contending at Carnoustie?

Updated 16 min 17 sec ago
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THE OPEN, DAY TWO: Who is contending at Carnoustie?

SECOND ROUND: Several stars started the second round with work to do, the cut mark looks like it will be at the 3-over or 2-over mark. Tiger Woods, Phil MIckelson and Jordan Spieth are all over par so need a decent round to stay for the weekend. It is wet in Scotland, for the first time in a while, here is how the big names are faring...

ZACH JOHNSON, 6-under 

The 2015 champion again showed he is to be feared on links courses as he fired a fine 4-under 67 to tak the clubhouse lead. One of the best putters around he will surely be in the mix come Sunday. "Everything is coming together to a point where I should be in contention more often," the American said. 

TOMMY FLEETWOOD, 5-under 

The Englishman came into the tournament as one of the favorites and on the evidence of this round it is not hard to see why. The course record holder (set last year) fired a brilliant 6-under 65, can he get his hands on a first Major this weekend? "We are only two days in, come Sunday I would like to be in the same spot. You put all the practice in for this and you have to go out and play golf, but it is easier said than done," he said. 

RORY MCILROY, 4-under 

Another solid round for the 2014 champion, he played within himself, but would have wlaked off the course thinking of what might have been. He gave himself plenty of birdie opportunities but is not far off the lead and will doubtless fancy his chances, especially if he can make a few more putts. "Right now I am feeling good about it," he said. 

BROOKS KOEPKA, 1-under

The back-to-back US Open champion had a good day at Carnoustie. Having shot a 1-over 72 on Thursday the American went into red figures on Friday firing a 2-under 69 to lurk not too far behind the leaders. 

TIGER WOODS, level-par

The Big Beast just missed a birdie putt on 18 that would have left him in red figures. He will, however, be pleased with his day's work and do not be surprised to see him challenge the top of the leaderboard over the weekend. After the round he said: "I think it is going to be a crowded leaderboard. There are going to be a bunch of guys with a chance to win...it's going ot be a bunched leaderboard." 

SERGIO GARCIA, 4-over

The Spanish former Masters champion will not be around at the weekend after a second-round 75 saw him finsih on 4-over. Not even a bit of luck on the 18th, when his ball was heading for the bottom of the famous Barry Burn but it hit the wall of the waterway and popped back onto the fairway. 

DUSTIN JOHNSON, 6-over

The American came arrived at Carnoustie as the favorite but left as the first world No. 1 not to make the cut since Luke Donald in 2011. A one-over 72 was not enough to repair the damage done by his opening 76 on Thursday. 

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FIRST ROUND: That's it then, everyone has had a go at this famous old course and it is American Kevin Kisner who leads on -5 after the first day. Northern Ireland's hope Rory McIlroy sits three shots back on -2, and after a topsy-turvy round, Tiger Woods is level.

It was not such a good day for 2017 winner Jordan Spieth, who dropped four shots on the final four holes to finish +1 for the day. Here's a look at the biggest names and how they fared on day one...

DUSTIN JOHNSON, 5-over

He came in as a lot of people's favorite to win the Open Championship, but the American world No. 1 has had an afternoon to forget. Never finding his rhythm, he shot a five-over-par 76 and now faces a massive uphill struggle just to make the weekend. Hope for the rest of the field...

TIGER WOODS, Even-par

The 14-time Major winner finished off his first round with a par, and he's level par for the day too. A very neat and tidy round of 71 for the American, and he looked a more composed and in-control figure than he has done of late. His successful holes were met with raucuous cheers, might be a crowd favorite for the Claret Jug?


KEVIN KISNER, 5-under

The American was the early leader firing a 66 in the early benign conditions. The world No.33 was not thought of as a possible winner, his best finish at an Open was tied for 54th last year. Can he stay near the top of the leaderboard until Sunday?

 

RORY MCILROY, 2-under

Looking for his first Major in four years the world No.8 started with a solid round of 69. Two-under for the tricky back nine will give him confidence heading into the second round as he goes in search of his second Claret Jug. 



DANNY WILLETT, 2-under

The Englishman has endured a torrid time since he memorably won the Green Jacket two years ago. But a recent upturn in form continued at Carnoustie and it would not be a shock to see him up near the top of the leaderboard into the weekend.



JON RAHM, 2-under

The tempestuous Spaniard has all you need to win a Major, but is yet to get his hands on one of the top-four prizes. He made a good start in Scotland, carding a 69 in a round that featured only two birdies. He will fancy his chances of contending come Sunday evening.



RICKIE FOWLER, 1-under

Three birdies and two bogeys saw the American open up with a solid, if unspectacular round. The world No. 7 has long down well on links courses so expect him to make a challenge on Friday and Saturday in a bid to win he first Major.



JORDAN SPIETH, 1-over

It all started so well for the defending champion. He was 3-under through 11 and looking set for the clubhouse lead. But then disaster struck on the 15th where a double bogey was followed up with bogeys on 16 and 17 to leave him to card a 72.



JUSTIN ROSE, 1-over


A birdie at the last would have at least left him leaving the court with a smile, but deep down he would know that being one of the earlier starters he should have done better than an up-and-down round of 72. He is desperate to add to his one Major and he has work to do if he is to get Major No. 2 this week.



PATRICK REED, 4-over

The Masters champion talked a good game coming into the tournament (when does he not?). But he was left scratching his head after a 75 left him well off the pace at Carnoustie. He never really got going after a double bogey at the second left him playing catch up, a bogey on the last summed up his day.