Nigeria’s Super Eagles fumbled to a 2-0 defeat to Croatia in their first match at the FIFA 2018 World Cup going on in Russia, failing to salvage Africa’s pride.
Three African sides, Egypt, Morocco and Nigeria have so far lost their opening games at the ongoing tournament, but the Nigerian team appeared worst among the three, conceding two goals and failing to take the match to the Croatians.
Croatia opened scoring on 32 minutes through an own goal by Nigeria’s Oghenekaro Etebo.
Moments after Ante Rebic’s deflected strike went out for a corner, Croatia grabbed the opener courtesy of the unfortunate Etebo, who has joined Stoke City, just relegated to English division side.
A corner from the right was swung in. It was nodded on towards Mario Mandzukic, whose header, which appeared to be going wide, came off some part of Etebo’s body and went into the net.
Croatia added the second goal on 71 minutes through a penalty by Lucas Modric a careless foul on Mandzukic.
The Real Madrid man avoided a ‘Messi’ and slotted the ball to the right of Francis Uzoho, who went the other way.
Nigeria’s Odion Ighalo had the first shot on target in this match in the 59th minute – the longest wait for a first attempt on target in a World Cup match so far this tournament.
The levels of noise among the Nigeria fans rises again as both Kelechi Iheanacho and Victor Moses sees efforts blocked later in the game.
The Croatian side dominated possession all through the duration of the match as the Nigerian side allowed too much space for the Modric-led side to operate.