CUIABA, Brazil (AP) — Nigeria ended a 16-year wait for a victory in a World Cup match Saturday, beating Bosnia-Herzegovina 1-0 courtesy of Peter Odemwingie's first-half goal and knocking the tournament newcomers out of contention.
Only a point is needed by Nigeria from its last Group F game — against already-qualified Argentina — to reach the knockout stage after Odemwingie finished from close range in the 29th minute following one of many powerful runs by his strike partner Emmanuel Emenike.
Playing hours after Ghana's plucky 2-2 draw with Germany, Nigeria gave African football another lift following its continent's inauspicious start to the tournament. Prior to Saturday, the five African teams had claimed just one win and a draw in seven matches in Brazil.
"It's something awesome for Africa," said Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, who tipped Edin Dzeko's shot onto the post in the final few seconds to preserve the win. "Africa needed that win, something to boost the confidence back home."
The Bosnians are sure to go home after the group stage, and will wonder if things may have gone differently had Dzeko's goal in the 21st minute not been ruled out for offside. Replays appeared to show the officials may have got the call wrong.
"The referee was shameful for this competition," Dzeko said.
But Nigeria deserved its win, with Emenike causing all sorts of problems for Bosnia-Herzegovina's defense with his strength and direct running in energy-sapping conditions in the western Brazilian city of Cuiaba. At the other end, the experienced Joseph Yobo was back as captain and marshalled the defense in his 99th international game. Dzeko and the Bosnians' technical midfielders carved out few clear-cut opportunities.
"They surprised us with their speed and movement," Bosnia-Herzegovina coach Safet Susic said. "They wanted to win probably that much more than us."
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