FIFA World Cup 2018: Croatia beat Nigeria 2-0 - As it happened

Croatia strolls away with a win over Nigeria and takes the top spot in Group D.

FIFA World Cup 2018: Croatia beat Nigeria 2-0 - As it happened
Pic courtesy:Reuters/ FILE IMAGE

Kaliningrad: 

Kaliningrad: An own goal and a penalty gave Croatia a comfortable start to their World Cup campaign as they beat Nigeria 2-0 in their Group D clash at the Kaliningrad Stadium on Saturday.

Croatia, who were barely extended by their African opponents, now top Group D after Argentina and Iceland drew 1-1 in Moscow. 

 

Here are the updates from the match:

Croatia strolls away with a win over Nigeria and takes the top spot in Group D.

Croatia 2-0 Nigeria 

FULL TIME!! 

90+2 minute: Croatia's Mateo Kovacic slithers one into the hands of the Nigerian goalkeeper. 

4 minutes of stoppage time!

89 minute: Yellow card! Croatia's Marcelo Brozovic is booked for a bad foul. 

88 minute: Substitution for Nigeria, Nwankwo replaces Obi Mikel. 

86 minute: Ambitious long shot by Oghenekaro Etebo. But it is a little too late for the West African nation. 

85 minute: Substitution for Croatia, Mario Mandzukic is replaced by Pjaca. 

83 minute: Croatia's Ivan Perisic goes down, looks in distress. A substitution in on the cards. 

7 minutes to go!

80 minute:  The Nigerian hopes were up for a moment, but Croatia's Strinic makes a timely intervention inside the Croatian box. 

78 minute: Nigeria are down as Croatia continue to threaten in the final third. Substitution for Croatia, Mateo Kovacic in for Ante Rebic.

76 minute: Substitution for Nigeria, Iheanacho replaces Ighalo. 

73 minute: Croatia enjoy a healthy possession and once again they seem to have broken the Nigerians with a goal. 

70 minute: GOAL!!!!! Mario Mandzukic scored with a composed shot on the bottom corner of the net. 

69 minute: PENALTY!! William Ekong puts his arm around the Croatian player during a Corner. That was a clear foul. 

67 minute: Free-kick for Croatia after John Obi Mikel concedes a foul in the midfield. 

65 minute: Victor Moses goes down in a challenge inside the box but the referee plays on. 

64 minute: Etebo wins a free-kick for Croatia. 

63 minute: Corner for Croatia. Mario Mandzukic heads an air ball away from the Nigerian net. 

62 minute: Substitution for Nigeria. Musa comes in for Alex Iwobi. 

60 minute: Substitution for Croatia. M. Brozovic replaces Andrej Kramaric. 

59 minute: First effort on target by Nigeria, Odion Ighalo's great effort goes in vain as he heads the ball into the hands of the Croatian goalkeeper. 

55 minute: Moses on the run, gets past two Croatian players but gives it away up front. 

54 minute: That was close. Croatia nearly miss the Nigerian net after a great first touch pass from Ivan Rakitic.

53 minute: Another corner for Nigeria. They need to make something out of this. Croatians crowd the strikers as the ball gets cleared. 

51 minute: Odion Ighalo of Nigeria if furious as the referee gives a foul against him. The Nigerians look inspired in the second-half. 

48 minute: Nigeria are pushing hard, a beautiful drill pass finds Victor Moses in the penalty box, but he shoots it wide. 

46 minute: Three corners in a row for Nigeria. Victor Moses fails to find a Nigerian in the box

Second-half is underway

Croatia had more control over the game than Nigeria, they allowed Nigeria with the ball but fell back to cramp them for space. Oghenekaro Etebo’s own goal proved to  the difference between the two sides in the first-half. Luka Modric pulled the strings and looked sharp and complemented well with Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic up front. Croatia looked composed and Nigeria need a spirited performance to fancy their chances of taking home a point, at the least.  

With Iceland and Argentina sharing points earlier in the day, every point counts, both Croatia and Nigeria would look to gain the early advantage in the Group D points table. 

Half-time. Croatia 1-0 Nigeria 

2 minutes of stoppage time. 

44 minute: Free-kick to Nigeria, as Victor Moses goes down. 

39 minute: Rakitic finds Andrej Kramaric from the far post, a brilliant effort by Kramaric to make contact, but the header goes past the crossbar. That could have been the second goal. 

38 minute: Nigeria have to get their act to together, as their tempo after the first goal. There is still plenty of time for Nigera to stage a comeback. 

34 minute: Nigeria's Odion Ighalo tries to shoot the ball from the edge of the box. Croatia would look to keep the scoreline intact till the half-time. 

Croatia 1-0 Nigeria

32 minute: Goal!! Own Goal. Croatia takes the lead after a flying header from Mario Mandzukic is assisted on to the net by Nigerian Oghenekaro Etebo. Croatia 1-0 Nigeria. 

30 minute: Yellow card!!! Croatia's  Ivan Rakitic gets the first booking of the match. 

28 minute:  Nigerian are balanced and are holding their positions quite well and seem to create plenty of space for themselves in the midfield. 

25 minute: Nigeria are knocking on the Croatian door but are giving the ball away easily in the final third. On the other hand, Ivan Rakitic is gifting away free-kicks to Nigeria. 

21 minute:  Corner for Nigeria. Oghenekaro Etebo shoots from distance but clouds away.  

19 minute: Victor Moses drives into the Croatian box, but is brought down by the defenders. Referee calls for play-on. 

18 minute: Nigeria's Leon Balogun brings down Croatia's Andrej Kramaric. Free-kick to Croatia. 

17 minute:  Croatia are beginning to make regular inroads into the Nigerian box. Corner for Croatia

15 minute: Andrej Kramaric has a sight on goal with a long shot up front, shoots it wide of the Nigerian post. 

13 minute: Croatia's Ivan Perisic shoots a screamer at goal but the ball misses Nigerian goal by a whisker. 

12 minute: Free-kick for Nigeria, as a Croatian player concedes a foul. 

9 minute: Nigeria are looking comfortable in the midfield as both teams find space up front. 

7 minute: Corner for Croatia as Nigerian Abdullahi Shehu sends the ball away. 

4 minute:  Mario Mandzukic sprints on to the left flank of the Nigerian half but the defenders clear the danger. 

3 minute: Nigeria have a reputation for being slow starters, they are usually known as a second-half team. 

Lineups

Nigeria XI: Francis Uzoho, Abdullahi Shehu, William Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun, Brian Idowu, Wilfred Ndidi, Oghenekaro Etebo, Victor Moses, John Obi Mikel (c), Alex Iwobi, Odion Ighalo.

Croatia XI: Danijel Subasic, Sime Vrsaljko, Dejan Lovren, Domagoj Vida, Ivan Strinic, Ivan Rakitic, Luka Modric (c), Ante Rebic, Andrej Kramaric, Ivan Perisic, Mario Mandzukic.

Squads: 

Croatia:

Goalkeepers: Lovre Kalinic, Dominik Livakovic, Danijiel Subasic.

Defenders: Duje Caleta-Car, Vedran Corluka, Tin Jedvaj, Dejan Lovren, Josip Pivaric, Ivan Strinic, Domagoj Vida, Sime Vrsaljko.

Midfielders: Milan Badelj, Filip Bradaric, Marcelo Brozovic, Mateo Kovacic, Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic.

Forwards: Nikola Kalinic, Andrej Kramaric, Mario Mandzukic, Ivan Perisic, Marko Pjaca, Ante Rebic

Nigeria:

Goalkeepers: Daniel Akpeyi, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Francis Uzoho.

Defenders: Chidozie Awaziem, Leon Balogun, Tyronne Ebuehi, Elderson Echiejile, Bryan Idowu, Kenneth Omeruo, Abdullahi Shehu, William Troost-Ekong.

Midfielders: Oghenekaro Etebo, Victor Moses, Wilfred Ndidi, Joel Obi , Mikel John Obi, John Ogu, Ogenyi Onazi.

Forwards: Odion Ighalo, Kelechi Iheanacho, Alex Iwobi, Ahmed Musa, Simeon Nwankwo

(with agency inputs)

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