June 16, 2018 / 9:01 PM / 3 months ago

Soccer-Own goal and penalty ensure Croatia celebrations

KALININGRAD, Russia, June 16 (Reuters) - 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. (Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Nizhny Novgorod; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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