MATCH CENTRE

SAT 16 JUNE 2018, 21:00, KALININGRAD STADIUM

2
VS
0

Super Eagles shot down by Croatia

by Graeme Jackson

Sat June 16, 23:08

Nigeria’s 2018 World Cup got off to a terrible start after they were beaten 2-0 by Croatia in a Group D clash at the Kaliningrad Stadium on Saturday evening.

An own goal from Oghenekaro Etebo and a Luka Modric penalty took ‘The Blazers’ to three points and top spot in the group, while Africa is still waiting for it’s first goal – let alone a positive result – following 0-1 defeats for Egypt and Morocco on Friday.

Nigeria enjoyed plenty of early possession, but the first scoring chance went the way of Croatia, who put together a swift attacking move in the 14th minute which ended with Ivan Perisic firing a shot from the edge of the box just over the crossbar.

The European side claimed the lead just after the half hour mark. A corner kick was flicked on at the near post, Mario Mandzukic tried to score with a diving header and the ball was unwittingly turned into his own net by Oghenekaro Etebo.

It should have been 2-0 to Croatia in the 39th minute, with Ivan Rakitic whipping a fine cross into the box to find Andrej Kramaric, but the attacker put his glancing header over the target.

Nigeria started the second half strongly and gradually began to build some pressure in attack. However, they lacked the penetration to really trouble Croatia’s defence and goalkeeper Danijel Subasic.

‘The Blazers’ claimed their second goal in the 72nd minute, with Luka Modric scoring from a penalty. The spot kick had been awarded after defender William Troost-Ekong was guilty of wrestling Mandzukic to the floor at a corner kick.

Croatia were able to cruise through the rest of the game and pick up three valuable points which puts them top of the standings, ahead of their next match against Argentina on June 21. Nigeria’s next game will see them take on Iceland the following day.

Croatia (1) 2 (Etebo 32’ og, Modric 72’ pen)

Nigeria 0

Croatia: Subasic, Vrsaljko, Lovren, Vida, Strinic, Rakitic, Modric, Kramaric (Brozovic 60’), Rebic (Kovacic 78’), Perisic, Mandzukic (Pjaca 86’)

Nigeria: Uzoho, Abdullahi, Balogun, Troost-Ekong, Idowu, Etebo, Mikel (Nwankwo 88’), Ndidi, Moses, Ighalo (Iheanacho 73’), Iwobi (Musa 62’)

MATCH STATISTICS
MATCH VENUE REFEREE
GROUP STAGE KALININGRAD STADIUM
CROATIA GOALS NIGERIA GOALS
8. Oghenekaro Etebo (32') (OG)
10. Luka Modric (72')
CAUTIONS DISMISSALS CAUTIONS DISMISSALS
2 1
CROATIA STARTING LINEUP NIGERIA STARTING LINEUP
Goalkeeper
23
Goalkeeper
23
Defender
6
Defender
2
Defender
21
Defender
6
Defender
3
Defender
12
Defender
2
Defender
70'
5
Midfielder
4
Midfielder
62'
18
Midfielder
30'
7
Midfielder
88'
10
Midfielder
72'
10
Midfielder
32'
8
Forward/Striker
60'
9
Midfielder
4
Forward/Striker
78'
18
Forward/Striker
73'
9
Forward/Striker
86'
17
Forward/Striker
11
SUBSTITUTIONS
Marcelo Brozovic
Midfielder
60'
11
Ahmed Musa
Forward/Striker
62'
7
Mateo Kovacic
Midfielder
78'
8
Kelechi Iheanacho
Forward/Striker
73'
14
Marko Pjaca
Forward/Striker
86'
20
Simeon Nwankwo
Forward/Striker
88'
13
CARDS
Ivan Rakitic
Midfielder
30'
7
William Troost-Ekong
Defender
70'
5
Marcelo Brozovic
Midfielder
89'
11
KEY
Goal
Penalty Missed
Yellow Card
Substitute IN
Own Goal
Penalty Shootout Goal
Yellow / Red Card
Substitute OUT
Penalty
Penalty Shootout Miss
Red Card
Injury
GALLERY
COMMENTS
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