Nigeria won their first game at the 2014 World Cup since 1998 courtesy of a 1-0 victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina in Cuiaba.
Peter Odemwingie gave Nigeria the lead in the first half after tapping home from Emmanuel Emenike’s cross.
Bosnia striker Edin Dzeko had seen a goal incorrectly disallowed for an offside minutes before, as his country were knocked out of the tournament.
Here, Futbalgalore.com takes a closer look at the events that unfolded at the Arena Pantanal.
Was the result fair?
On the balance of play, Nigeria deserved their win. They showed more intent from the start and constantly looked to trouble Asmir Begovic in the opposition goal. Their defence largely kept the attacking talents of Miralem Pjanic and Dzeko at bay, while their own forwards were a constant menace for a nervous Bosnia defence. The key moment in the game came when Dzeko had a goal wrongly ruled out for an offside. If his strike had stood, then his country may have been able to push on and win the match, but they conceded soon after and struggled to come up with a response.
Nigeria were fully rewarded for a positive attacking display by collecting all three points this evening. In their opening group match against Iran they were criticised for lacking a threat in the final third, but tireless performances from forwards Emenike and Ahmed Musa added another dimension to their attacking play. They were also impressive in defence, with Joseph Yobo and Kenneth Omeruo solid throughout.
The final result was tough on Bosnia, who saw their World Cup hopes ended. Despite a bright start and plenty of possession, they struggled to consistently put together threatening attacks, with Nigeria comfortably dealing with their forward line for most of the evening. Dzeko in particular was poor and he should have earned his team a point, but fluffed two huge chances to level the scores in stoppage time. He may have been unlucky to see a perfectly legitimate goal ruled out, on what was an off-night for the striker. Midfield duo Pjanic and Zvjezdan Misimovic failed to make the most of their time on the ball, while Emir Spahic endured a torrid night in defence.
Futbalgalore.com’s Man of the match
Emmanuel Emenike: The Nigerian striker was fantastic for his team throughout the 90 minutes, with Bosnia unable to cope with his powerful runs. He completely outmuscled Spahic on his way to setting up Odemwingie’s goal and was a menace down the right-hand side of the pitch throughout.
In stoppage time Bosnia had two huge chances to level the scores and both were squandered by Dzeko. Firstly, he headed a corner straight at Enyeama from just a few yards out, before seeing another effort from close-range range pushed onto the post by the keeper. The misses proved to be vital as his team’s chances of qualifying for the knockout stages came to a disappointing end.
In a World Cup that had its fair share of controversies, there was another huge refereeing blunder tonight. Dzeko was clearly onside as he ran through to fire past Enyeama, but referee Peter O’Leary disallowed his goal. The strike came with the game still goalless.