Odemwingie’s strike sinks Bosnia

Odemwingie’s strike sinks Bosnia

Osaze Odemwingie scored the only goal to give Nigeria a victory that means World Cup debutant Bosnia-Herzegovina will not progress from Group F.

OdemwingieThe Stoke forward struck in the first half to give Nigeria its first win at a World Cup finals since 1998.

The goal came just seven minutes after Bosnia striker Edin Dzeko had a goal incorrectly disallowed for offside.

Nigeria will reach the knockout stages if it gets a point against Argentina, or if Iran fails to beat Bosnia.

Odemwingie’s decisive strike came just a month after he returned to the Nigeria squad following a two-year absence caused by a dispute with Coach Stephen Keshi.

Knowing it needed a win to stay in their first World Cup finals, Bosnia attacked from the start but was vulnerable in defence, with Odemwingie, John Mikel Obi and Michael Babatunde all squandering early chances for Nigeria.

Bosnia briefly thought it had taken the lead when Dzeko latched onto a pass from Miralem Pjanic, but the Manchester City forward was denied by an offside flag, though replays suggested he had timed his run well.

The Super Eagles made the most of the let-off as Emmanuel Emenike powered past Emir Spahic on the right before finding Odemwingie, who shot through the legs of his Stoke team-mate Asmir Begovic to score.

Nigeria absorbed Bosnian pressure early in the second half, but they counter attacked effectively and came close to going further ahead when Babatunde and Emenike forced saves from Begovic in quick succession.

Bosnia continued to press, but substitute Vedad Ibisevic, who came off the bench to score in the defeat by Argentina, wasted a chance to equalise when he bundled a cross wide despite finding space in the area.

And, with seconds of injury time remaining, Dzeko scuffed a shot which Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama deflected onto the post and away to safety.

Odemwingie, who was named Man of the Match, said in a post-game interview “It’s been 16 years with no victory for our fans. We had to work hard for this – they are a quality team.

“We are happy to bounce back after what people thought was a poor performance in the first game. It was very important to win.

“From now on we’re looking upwards. Hopefully these three points will get us through to the second round.”