AGONAsport World Cup Daily Recap, Day 9: Brazil and Nigeria Win; Swiss Seal Comeback Victory

AGONAsport World Cup Daily Recap, Day 9: Brazil and Nigeria Win; Swiss Seal Comeback Victory


Brazil avoided a second consecutive draw with a couple of dramatic late strikes to defeat Costa Rica 2-0 on Day 9 of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Ahmed Musa produced a superb performance leading Nigeria past Iceland 2-0 and Switzerland defeated Serbia 2-1 in an exciting comeback win.

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GAMES RECAP

Brazil v Costa Rica 2-0

Phillipe Coutinho spared Brazil’s blushes with an injury-time strike to lead Brazil past Costa Rica in Saint Petersburg. Neymar also scored late on to ensure Brazil ran out 2-0 winners. It was a nervy game for the five-time World Cup winners as the Costa Rican backline and Keylor Navas in particular were superb throughout. 

Match Rating - 6.5: Brazil had plenty of chances in a match with plenty of goalmouth action. Coutinho’s intervention broke Costa Rican hearts, but provided the moment Brazilian fans were craving.

Nigeria v Iceland 2-0

Ahmed Musa’s terrific brace lifted Nigeria past Iceland 2-0. Group D was thrown wide open with this result and all four sides have a chance to progress to the knockout rounds going into Tuesday’s final group matches. Musa broke open an evenly-matched contest four minutes after the interval when he controlled superbly to half volley home from close range. His second was better, a phenomenal individual as he ran onto a long ball, dribbled into the box, evaded the goalkeeper and placed his shot past a defender into the net. 

Iceland had a massive opportunity to get back into the match, but Gylfi Sigurdsson blasted his 83rd minute penalty over the goal.

Match Rating - 7: A good match that was very even, both sides producing some fine opportunities in the first half. In the second, the difference was the irrepressible Musa, scorer of two truly sublime goals. 

Serbia v Switzerland 1-2

Aleksandar Mitrovic’s early goal was not enough as Switzerland became the first team at this World Cup to register a comeback victory, 2-1 over Serbia. Mitrovic headed home in the 5th minute to put Serbia in pole position in the group. However, the Swiss fought back after the break and a goal from Granit Xhaka levelled proceedings. Switzerland were on top in the second half and in injury time they finished the comeback. Xherdan Shaqiri raced into the box and finished coolly past the keeper to send the Swiss supporters into a frenzy.

Match Rating - 7: One of the better matches of the tournament thus far. There was controversy as well with Mitrovic and Serbia asking for a penalty in the second half after the striker was sandwiched by two players in the box. Serbia looked very in control going into halftime, but Xhaka’s goal swung the momentum toward the Swiss.

GREEK CONNECTION

Alfred Finnbogason played 90 minutes for Iceland against Nigeria. The former Olympiacos striker won the penalty that Sigurdsson missed. Former AEK player Arnor Ingvi Traustason remained on the bench.

For Serbia, former Ergotelis goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic once again played the entire match. Luka Milivojevic, the former Olympiacos midfielder, played 81 minutes before being substituted. He did pick up a yellow card before that. Aleksandar Prijovic played in Serbia’s first game, but remained on the bench against the Swiss. 

GOAL OF THE DAY

Amhed Musa’s second goal was special. Not only for how long he ran and dribbled, but for the composure he showed in front of goal. 
 

TALKING POINTS

  • Brazil find late breakthrough against Costa Rica
  • Musa scores wonderful brace
  • Nigeria back on track in Group D
  • Sigurdsson misses big penalty
  • Swiss start slow, but finish very strong against Serbia
  • Serbia perhaps should have had a penalty if VAR had been used


LOOKING AHEAD TO TOMORROW

Two key matches take place in Group E on Saturday. Germany look to get back on track when they face fellow European side Sweden, who along with Mexico, currently top the group. The Mexicans will look to take control of the group when they face off against South Korea. Tunisia played England extremely close in their first match, and they will try to get something out of their game on Day 10 of the tournament against Belgium.

 
by George Tsitsonis
Image Source: Guardian.com
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