June 16, 2018 / 7:05 PM / 5 months ago

Ighalo looks to celebrate birthday with Super Eagles win

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - International Friendly - England vs Nigeria - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - June 2, 2018 England's John Stones in action with Nigeria's Odion Ighalo REUTERS/David Klein

KALININGRAD, Russia (Reuters) - Striker Odion Ighalo will look to celebrate his birthday with a Super Eagles win while Nigeria lean heavily on their Premier League players in a Group D opener against Croatia at Kaliningrad Stadium on Saturday.

Ighalo, who plays in China, was given the nod by coach Gernot Rohr ahead of Leicester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho but will otherwise be surrounded by Premier talent with Chelsea’s Victor Moses and Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi joining the 29-year-old on the attack.

Zlatko Dalic kept the faith with struggling Juventus forward Mario Mandzukic choosing him over Nikola Kalinic as the Croatia coach stuck with a familiar lineup anchored in the midfield by Luka Modric.

Editing by Pritha Sarkar

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