22 June 2014

Nigeria Inches Nearer Round of 16 As Bosnia Bows Out of Brazil

Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
Nigeria's players celebrate their victory, 16 years after last winning a World Cup encounter.

After a lacklustre display in their first match against Iran, which ended in a drab goalless draw, the Super Eagles yesterday at Cuiaba defeated Bosnia-Herzegovinia 1-0 to be in a good stead for a place in the round of 16. Osaze Odemwingie cash-in on Emmanuel Emenike's pass to score Nigeria's first goal in the World Cup since France '98 and condemned the European representative to an early exit in their first appearance in the Mundial. Both teams missed quite a number of chances to score a goal. Emenike who expressed intense zeal in the match missed a couple of chances right from the first two minutes of the match. It took a while for the African Cup of Nations champ to get back to his strides.

The second half of the match saw the Bosnians with desperate moves to conceive a goal. Three substitutions were also made minutes into the second half by the Bosnians. On the Nigerian side, Musa was replaced by Ameobi while Babatunde,who had an injury later was replaced by Uzoenyi.

The man of the match would probably be the goalkeeper Enyeama whose saving hands magneted the dangerous kicks of the Bosnia and Herzegovina players. Odemwingie also displayed impressive skills in the field. However, it was Mikel Obi, who was served the first yellow card for the Nigerian team in this World Cup.

The 40,000 spectators at the stadium were enthralled by the show of doggedness by both team. The Bosnians did their best to equalise but it was not enough. They needed more than the heads, twists and turns to break through the green defence and Enyeama's dexterous saves.

The Super Eagles were more impressive than their first match with Iran. With the victory, Nigeria placed second in Group F behind tournament's favourite, Argentina, who the Eagles will play in the final group match on Wednesday with the top stop at stake.

The tournament's newcomers had earlier been denied a goal in a poor offside decision against Edin Dzeko after he ran on to a through pass and beat Nigeria's goalkeeper in the 21st minute. The more experienced Nigerians playing in their fifth World Cup created several chances in the first half but were let down by the final and poor control.

The Super Eagles will only need a draw against Argentina to progress to the next round of the competition.

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