A complete second-half turn around, and two world-class strikes by Ahmed Musa gave Nigeria’s Super Eagles a 2-0 win over Iceland at the 2018 FIFA World Cup holding in Russia.
The first half was a shocker as Nigeria failed to register a single shot on goal.
But the second half was a totally different ball game.
Coach Gernot Rohr brought in Tyrone Ebuehi for Brian Idowu and the Super Eagles started to soar high.
The first goal came in the 49th minute with defender Kenneth Omeruo heading away a throw-in to free Victor Moses on the right.
With Nigeria launching a counter-attack, Moses lofted a cross-in for on rushing Ahmed Musa to control with one touch and rifle high into the net to put Nigeria ahead.
The Icelanders were totally shell-shocked as the Super Eagles swooped in on them; Wilfred Ndidi’s powerful shot was turned over by keeper Halldorsson.
It was one-way traffic as Nigeria used their pace, technique and power to overwhelm the Icelanders who clearly did not read the memo dished out by Rohr’s wards.
Musa came close to a second in the 73rd minute as a rejuvenated Moses cut in from the right to feed Musa who fired a shot that rattled the bar.
And 3 minutes later the Lokomotiv Moscow man made sure he got his brace.
He took and controlled a long ball from the back, beat Kari Arnason for pace and rounded keeper Halldorsson from his goal and then blasted the ball past two covering defenders from about 10 yards out.
Down but not yet out, the Scandinavians were handed a life-line in the 83rd minute after Ebuehi appeared to have brought down Alfred Finnbodvarsson in the penalty area.
Referee Matthew Conger initially waved goal kick but after consulting the VAR awarded a penalty.
Gylfi Sigurdsson sent goalkeeper Francis Uzoho the wrong way, but the ball flew over the bar.
It was all over as Nigeria dominated and closed out what has so far been the best performance by an African team in one half of a match in this tournament.
With this win, Nigeria now has 3 points to place second behind Croatia who have now qualified for the next round.
The win will no doubt be good news for Argentina, who now face Nigeria on Tuesday in a winner-takes-all final group match.
Iceland will have to beat group leaders Croatia and hope both Nigeria and Argentina cancel each other out.
There’s still all to play for, but credit to Rohr and the boys for a complete turn-around.