Stingy defense carried Nigeria past Bosnia-Herzegovina, 1-0, Saturday in a World Cup game at Cuiaba, Brazil, effectively eliminating the losing team from contention.
Nigeria, which began the tournament with a tie after being winless in its two previous World Cup tournaments, surged into second place in Group F behind Argentina, its next opponent.
Bosnia-Herzegovina players were enraged that a foul was not called on Emmanuel Emenike threw out an arm, impeding a defender, as he fought to retain possession of the ball before feeding a pass to Peter Odemwingie. Referee Peter O'Leary put the whistle to his lips but, having seen contact both ways and noticing no flag raised by his sideline assistant, chose not to call a penalty on either player.
The Bosnians quibbled less with an earlier call.
Edin Dzeko tracked down a through ball and drilled it home, only to be deemed offside by an assistant referee, which TV replays showed was an incorrect call.
Dzeko, a midfielder turned striker, never let up, nearly scoring twice on sharply struck shots in stoppage time. His header went straight to goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama. His kick, which came after controlling a pass with his chest and pivoting, was deflected off the left post by Enyeama.
Soon after, there was celebrating for Nigeria and postgame scrutiny for the officiating crew.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun