Group F, Match 4
Peter Odemwingie fired Nigeria to the brink of qualification for the last-16 as they beat Bosnia 1-0 and knocked them out of the World Cup, reports Goal.com.
The striker slotted past Stoke City team-mate Asmir Begovic at the Arena Pantanal, although Bosnia were unfortunate not to have led eight minutes earlier when an Edin Dzeko goal was incorrectly ruled out for offside.
The European nation needed a goal in the second half to keep their qualification hopes alive, however they were unable to break down a solid Nigerian defence.
The win leaves Nigeria second in Group F and requiring either a point from their group finale with Argentina or an Iran draw or defeat against Bosnia.
Safet Susic omitted own-goal scorer Sead Kolasinac from their brave 2-1 loss to Argentina, however, Bosnia were exposed on their left side with Senad Lulic and Emir Spahic caught out of position early.
They were very sloppy at the back in the early stages, typified by a poor clearance by captain Spahic in the sixth minute - which forced his fellow defender Haris Medunjanin to earn a yellow card for bringing down Ahmed Musa.
Nigeria produced plenty of chances on goal and deserved to open the scoring, with Odemwingie's free-kick in the seventh minute deflecting narrowly wide of the upright, while Ogenyi Onazi - who tried his luck from range on a few occasions - forced a low save out of Begovic on 14 minutes.
For all their instability at the back, Bosnia settled into the game and should have been credited with the game's opening goal when Dzeko got in behind and found the back of the net in the 21st minute - only for the assistant's flag to be incorrectly raised.
Dzeko was clearly Bosnia's best chance of scoring the opener, and minutes later he unleashed a shot from inside the area that Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama was forced to produce a strong save to deny the Manchester City man.
The Bosnians would be further aggrieved with the officials when they felt they were denied a foul in the lead up to Nigeria's opener - with Spahic left on the ground, as Emmanuel Emenike squared a ball for goalscorer Odemwingie.
Bosnia were struggling to create much danger as they hunted the equaliser they required, and Susic rung the changes prior to the hour-mark.
Vedad Ibisevic, the goalscorer against Argentina, was brought on for Izet Hajrovic, and Sejad Salihovic replaced Lulic.
It was almost déjà-vu for Spahic in the 60th minute, as Emenike brushed aside the Bosnian skipper, but he had cover this time around.
Moments later, Begovic was forced off his line to deny the forward on the left hand side of the park, as the Fenerbahce man continued to cause problems.
Ibisevic had a free header from a corner in the 74th minute, but he failed to connect as the ball spawned over the crossbar.
But in the third minute of additional time, Dzeko came within a whisker of an equaliser, as his close-range effort was saved onto the post by Enyeama.
Man of the Match: P Odemwingie (NGA)
Match Commentary - as it happened
FULL TIME - Nigeria 1-0 Bosnia: Odemwingie's first half goal is enough to give the Super Eagles victory over Safet Susic's sub-par side. The result puts the African side on the brink of qualification, while Bosnia's first World Cup adventure ends with an early exit.
90` + 4` There is the final whistle! Bosnia are out!
90` + 3` OFF THE POST! DZEKO ALMOST EQUALISES! The ball is lumped into the box and the Manchester City man controls it before shooting on the spin. Enyeama steps up and gets enough on the ball to direct it onto the frame of his goal!
90` + 1` We are into the first of an additional three minutes and Dzeko wins a header in the box from Pjanic's looped cross. It is straight at Enyeama, though, and the keeper drops down to collect it on his goal line.
90` That just about sums up Bosnia's night! The ball is teed up for Misimovic 20 yards from goal but he completely fluffs his line, sending his shot straight into his own standing foot.
88` No they won't! The ball is sent in towards the back post but no effort on goal comes from it. Bosnia will look to try and get this forward now.
87` Emenike wins a free kick just outside the corner of the box on the near side as his quick feet draw a fould from Besic. Will Nigeria try to keep this in the corner?
85` Misimovic bides his time on the ball before shifting out to the left. The cross comes in from the byeline but it is far too deep and it bounces all the way out for a throw on the far side.
83` JUST WIDE FROM EMENIKE! He has caused no end of problems tonight! This time he goes solo and rifles a shot towards the bottom corner. He hits it well but it starts swinging away from the target and crashes into the stanchion behind the goal.
81` Yellow Card John Obi Mikel
81` GREAT SAVE FROM BEGOVIC! A quick free kick catches Bosnia napping, with Emenike receiving the ball in the box. He holds it up before rolling a pass back to Onazi who unleashes a hellacious strike from 25 yards. Begovic is once more equal to it, though, diving down to his right and pushing it away from danger.
79` Ameobi wins a free kick for Nigeria as his feet prove too quick for Sunjic. Mikel stands over the ball but it is Uzoenyi who hits it, and what a waste it is! The ball flies miles over the roof of the net with Begovic simply turning and asking for another so the game can continue.
77` PJANIC! Not good enough! Besic did a good job of carrying the ball up from deep and laying it off to the Roma man on the left side of the box. He moved it onto his right foot and struck for goal, only to see Enyeama smother his attempt at the near post.
75` Substitution: Michael Babatunde out, E. Uzoenyi in.
75` A corner is flighted in from the far side and Ibisevic manages to get away from his man and connect with a header on the edge of the six-yard box. He cannot steer his attempt on target, though, and is left holding his head in his hand.
73` Babatunde is down again and has to receive some more treatment. Before he dropped he signalled to the bench he would need to be replaced, so that might be the end of his night.
72` From kick off the tactical set-up of this Bosnia side has been extremely unbalanced. They seem to have lacked any sort of direction with far too many similar players on the field. Will the changes made enable them to find a late equaliser though?
70` Bosnia have an opportunity to get the ball into the box but Misimovic flights the free kick over the defence and out for a goal kick. This has been a poor, poor performance from the Dragons tonight.
68` Frustration seems to be building among the Bosnia players as Besic puts a fairly woeful challenge in on Babatunde. He just hacked in the area of the ball and ended up solely getting the man, but the referee allowed play to continue.
66` EMENIKE! Bosnia just cannot contain him. Again it is in the Dragons' left-hand channel that he finds the weakness, powering past Spahic and Sunjic on his way to the byeline. Once there, he rifles a shot at the near post which Begovic has to scoop behind for a corner.
65` Substitution: Ahmed Firaz Moosa out, Shola Ameobi in.
65` Safet Susic uses his last sub by replacing Medunjanin, who was on a yellow card, with Toni Susic. Nigeria's first change sees Ameobi come on in place of Musa, who has run himself into the ground.
64` Substitution: Haris Medunjanin out, Tino Sušić in.
63` STAT: No player was involved in more goals than Edin Dzeko, with 10 goals and 4 assists, in the European qualifiers for the World Cup. He's not looked like that kind of player tonight, though.
61` EMENIKE! Nigeria nearly go 2-0 up! Musa's cross into the box is poorly controlled by Odemwingie, but the loose ball falls perfectly for Emenike. He stabs a shot at goal with his first touch but Begovic stays big and gets his body in the way. Seconds before the keeper had had to keep out an effort from range by Babatunde. He's a busy man!
60` Emenike is having fun out there! Once more he proves too strong for Spahic as he races down the channel. He then attempts to cut inside Sunjic and get into a scoring position in the process, but he fails to beat his man this time around.
58` Substitution: Senad Lulic out, Sejad Salihovic in.
58` IBISEVIC! He's almost straight in! The striker darts in behind the defence but is unable to reach the ball before Enyeama, who raced out to the edge of his area to claim it.
57` Substitution: Izet Hajrovic out, Vedad Ibisevic in.
57` Here comes Ibisevic! It is Hajrovic who makes way, and he didn't have a particularly inspiring night. His dribbling was decent but his end product was non-existent more often than not.
55` BABATUNDE! The winger manages to get a shot away from 20 yards, and boy does he hit it. The searing effort is batted away by Begovic and his defence have to scramble after the ball to stop a follow-up effort from coming in.
53` STAT: The Super Eagles’ goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama kept 21 clean sheets while playing for Lille this season. That is more than any other keeper in the top five European leagues. Nigeria will be hoping for another this evening!
51` That is a great challenge from Omeruo! Dzeko gets between the right-back and the ball and holds it up before attempting to spin him and dart to the byeline. The Nigeria man keeps pace with him though and slides in with a brilliantly-timed tackle to knock the ball out for a corner.
50` There were no changes at half time but if it stays this way then you should expect to see Ibisevic introduced soon. He scored against Argentina and Susic will surely hope he can do the same here.
48` Mujdza gets to the byeline and whips a cross into the middle. It is at an awkard height for Dzeko, who ends up volleying the ball high into the air and watches as it drops on the roof of the net. Enyeama wasn't totally confident, though!
46` Back underway in Cuiaba!
HALF TIME - Nigeria 1-0 Bosnia-Herzegovina: It has been an entertaining first half with both sides getting into goal-scoring areas. The only person to convert, though, is Odemwingie. He finished off a brilliant piece of play from Emenike to put the Super Eagles close to progression, and Safet Susic's men to the brink of elimination. Join me for the second half in 15 minutes to see if they can rescue themselves!
45` + 2` There is the whistle to signal the end of the half.
45` + 1` Into stoppage time and Dzeko lets fly with another effort on goal but unfortuantely for the Dragons it is once more fired into the stands.
45` CHANCE FOR DZEKO! Pjanic manages to push his way around the back of the defence and spots Dzeko on his own in the area. He places a pass at his feet but the Manchester City striker fails to keep his effort on target, instead leaning back and sending it over the top.
43` It's just not working for the Dragons at the moment. Hajrovic stretches his legs down the right but ends up running down a dead end and losing possession. Nigeria's defence has been holding up well so far, though the movement of Dzeko has caused some problems.
41` Where Misimovic is drifting inside it means Lulic has to get far forward early in order to supply the missing width. His attempted cross to the back post is cut out and he has to sprint back immediately to help ensure Musa doesn't race away on the near side.
39` MUSA ALMOST SNEAKS ONE! A clever effort from the forward as he drills a low shot towards the near post which Begovic has left vacant, probably due to expecting a cross. He manages to spring down to his side and stop it flying in, but has to collect it at the second attempt.
38` It's too easy for Emenike! One touch to control a throw and he is past his marker, but Sunjic gets across to stop his attempt to drill the ball into the middle from reaching a team-mate.
37` There is a short break in play as Emenike goes down to receive treatment. He makes his way off the pitch and takes on a bottle of water. He's earned it with all his running so far in the first half!
35` Emenike is having the run of things having moved out to the right! This time he knocks the ball past Lulic and then outmuscles him to get to it first. However, his end product is lacking as he wildly slices the ball over the top of goal.
33` The Dragons try a more patient approach, passing the ball around on the right flank, before Medunjanin clips it over the top of defence. Dzeko runs in behind but is just short of getting his head to the pass and worrying Enyeama from close range.
31` The goal has been coming since the early moments, but despite Bosnia's improvements it is Nigeria who have got it. As things stand, this would dump Bosnia out of the tournament and see the Super Eagles put one foot into the knockout rounds.
29` Assist Emenike
29` Goal Peter Odemwingie
GOOOOOOOOOOAAALL!! NIGERIA LEAD! Emenike picks the ball up on the right and knocks it past Spahic before clambering around him to pick it up on the other side. The defender went to ground expecting a free kick but Emenike cut a pass back to Odemwingie who tucked it home through the legs of Begovic!
28` PJANIC! Another important save from Enyeama! The Roma man was not closed down 25 yards from goal and used the space to plump for the net. His effort bounced just in front of the keeper who read it well and parried the danger away.
27` It's end-to-end stuff here at the moment, but the quality in the final third isn't quite there. Babatunde and Emenike combine to forge a shooting chance for the former, but his wild strike flies harmlessly wide of Begovic's goal.
25` Nigeria are looking extremely vulnerable to the counterattack now. The Dragons are unrelenting in their attempts to break in behind the opposition defence and it's becoming the cause for concern in the Super Eagles' ranks.
24` IMPORTANT SAVE! Pjanic spots Dzeko peeling away from his marker and slips a lovely pass into the Manchester City man's path. He dribbles into the box and lets fly with his right foot, but his shot is too close to Enyeama who manages to palm it over the top.
23` This is better from Bosnia! Hajrovic manages to force his way past Omeruo, shifting the ball onto his left foot and having a go from the top of the box. His attempt, though, is sent straight down the middle and the keeper holds it capably.
21` GOOOOOAAALL... it has been ruled out! Dzeko latches onto a through-ball and slots it past Enyeama, but the official on the far side raises his flag to signal for an offside decision. Not too many complaints.
20` Nigeria are continuing to shoot from distance - Musa with a crack from the left this time - but Begovic has dealt with the efforts fairly well so far.
18` Bosnia are struggling to find a way through the heart of the Super Eagles' defence at the moment. Hajrovic does a good job of carrying the ball inside from the right before picking out Mujdza outside him, but the full-back's cross is blocked and goes out for a corner.
16` Misimovic, who seems to be operating from the left, drifts inside and combines with Medunjanin in an attempt to get Bosnia flowing. His team-mate quickly loses possession, though, as a green shirt intercepts his attempted pass to Dzeko.
14` ONAZI!! A much better effort from the midfielder, though this one was from further out! His strike is true and powerful, but Begovic gets down and parries the ball aside before getting back to his feet and claiming the ball at the second attempt.
13` Nigeria are really starting to take control of this game now, and Bosnia's defence already look like their on the ropes. Spahic has been sloppy and Lulic has been caught too high up the pitch already.
11` SO CLOSE FROM MIKEL! Musa springs the offside trap and sprints onto a through-ball on the near side. His cutback is fairly slow and the attack loses some momentum, however the ball is shifted inside to Mikel who fires a low effort into the side netting from 20 yards.
9` OH MUSA! The CSKA Moscow man mad a brilliant diagonal run in behind the defence and was spotted by Emenike. The pass was perfect, but Musa let it slip under his foot when a solid touch would have put him one-on-one with Begovic. What a chance that was.
7` JUST WIDE FROM ODEMWINGIE! From a central position about 25 yards out the forward strikes the ball brilliantly, firing it over the wall and searching out the corner to Begovic's right. However, the effort lacks sufficient curl to bring it back inside the post and instead flies narrowly wide.
6` Yellow Card Haris Medunjanin
6` Poor from Spahic! It's not the first time he's given the ball away, and this time he passes straight to Musa. The Nigerian skips past Medunjanin, who brings him to ground cynically giving the Super Eagles a free kick in a shooting opposition.
5` Bosnia are starting brightly and have already managed to get in behind the Nigeria defence a couple of times, however their latest attempt is pulled back as Pjanic is adjudged offside. Lulic has certainly started on the left-side of the back four, with Medunjanin playing further forward.
4` The corner is only half-cleared at the near post and rolls to Onazi 30 yards from goal. He lets fly with a first-time effort but he cannot keep it down and the ball sails into the stands behind the goal.
3` A long ball up towards Emenike is brought down well by the striker but he is quickly closed down in the area and forced back towards the byeline. He is unable to get the ball into the middle but earns his side a corner.
1` Game starts at the Arena Pantanal!
Nigeria have a mixed record against European competition in the World Cup, winning four and drawing once in nine encounters. Another victory tonight would all but put them into the next round, but Bosnia won't want their debut campaign to end so soon.
Toni Sunjic comes into defence for Bosnia as Ermin Bicakcic drops to the bench. The only other change is at left-back where Sead Kolasinac, who scored the own goal against Argentina, makes way for Haris Medunjanin, but it remains to be seen if that is where the Gaziantepspor man will start or if Safet Susic will shuffle his line-up further.
Stephen Keshi has Godfrey Oboabona ruled out with an ankle injury so Joseph Yobo slots into the centre of defence. Victor Moses is replaced by Peter Odemwingie on the right wing and Ramon Azeez loses his place with the coach instead calling upon Michael Babatunde.
Bosnia (4-2-3-1): Begovic; Mujdza, Sunjic, Spahic, Medunjanin; Pjanic, Besic; Hajrovic, Misimovic, Lulic; Dzeko.
Nigeria (4-2-3-1): Enyeama; Ambrose, Oshaniwa, Yobo, Omeruo; Onazi, Mikel; Musa, Odemwingie, Babatunde; Emenike.
The Dragons suffered defeat in their first ever World Cup fixture against Argentina last Sunday. They gave a good account of themselves but were eventually undone by some Lionel Messi magic and fell to a 2-1 loss. Vedad Ibisevic came on from the bench to score for Safet Susic's side, however there is no place for him in the starting XI tonight. Full line-ups on the way.
The Super Eagles have not won any of their previous nine World Cup fixtures. In fact, their last win in the competition came back in 1998 when they defeated Bulgaria 1-0. Victory tonight, though, would dump Bosnia out of the tournament and put Nigeria on the brink of progression.
Commentary & Report: Goal dot com