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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 22 July 2018

Luka Modric penalty helps guide Croatia to comfortable World Cup win over Nigeria

Former Al Ain manager Zlatko Dalic sees his side prove too good in Kaliningrad for their African opponents

Croatia's players celebrate against Nigeria. Petr David Josek / AP Photo
Croatia's players celebrate against Nigeria. Petr David Josek / AP Photo

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.

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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.