Own goal and penalty ensure Croatia celebrations

16 June 2018 - 23:01 By REUTERS
Croatia's midfielder Luka Modric (hidden) celebrates scoring a penalty with his teammates during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group D football match between Croatia and Nigeria at the Kaliningrad Stadium in Kaliningrad on June 16, 2018.
Croatia's midfielder Luka Modric (hidden) celebrates scoring a penalty with his teammates during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group D football match between Croatia and Nigeria at the Kaliningrad Stadium in Kaliningrad on June 16, 2018.
Image: AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

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

A diving header from Mario Mandzukic was deflected into his own net by Nigeria midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo after 32 minutes to hand Croatia the half-time lead, doubled by Luka Modric’s successful penalty kick in the 71st minute.

It was awarded after Nigeria defender William Troost-Ekong had wrestled Mandzukic to the ground right in front of the referee, wrapping both arms around the striker as they jostled for space in the Nigeria box.

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

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