By RYAN TOLMICH
After a scoreless draw kicked off their Brazilian experience, Nigeria put themselves in prime position on Saturday to advance to the tournament’s knockout rounds.
The Super Eagles picked up their first World Cup win since 1998 by knocking off Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1-0, to grab control of second place in Group E while sealing Bosnia and Herzegovina’s elimination from the tournament.
Nigeria opened the scoring via Peter Odemwingie, who put the Super Eagles ahead in the 29th minute. Odemwingie’s finish was the result of the run of Nigerian forward Emmanuel Emenike, who bullied the Bosnia and Herzegovina defense, knocking down a defender as he ran towards the end line.
The referee however ruled that it was no foul and Emenike’s cross to the middle of the box found a wide open Odemwingie, who placed it calmly into the net to give his side the game’s lone goal.
However, the game’s pivotal moment came in the 21st minute, as Bosnia and Herzegovina star Edin Dzeko had what looked to be the game’s opener wrongly ruled offside by the linesman. Replays showed Dzeko to be fully onside prior to receiving the ball, but the referee saw differently, paving the way for Odemwingie to open the scoring just eight minutes later.
Bosnia-Herzegovina had their fair share of late chances as well, the best of which once again came through Dzeko in extra time. The 28-year-old striker’s shot from the center of the box caromed off Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama and off of the goalpost. Enyeama finished the game with six saved, including two after the 90th minute.
With the loss, Bosnia and Herzegovina will play their final 2014 World Cup match when they take on Iran Wednesday. Meanwhile, Nigeria, who currently sit second in the group, will take on group leaders Argentina.