Bosnia coach Safet Susic, who started with just Dzeko up front despite saying after the opening defeat to Argentina he would play with two strikers, said that his side had been robbed of a goal by New Zealand referee Peter O’Leary.
“I was told there was no offside but it’s not the first or last time a referee has made a bad decision at this World Cup and it won’t be the last,” said the 59-year-old.
“We lost to a good side, Nigeria played better than against Iran.”
Nigeria were, as Susic attested to, a completely different team to the one that had barely got out of a Sunday morning stroll in the draw with Iran.
Emmanuel Emenike always looked a threat and it was he who created the goal, as he burst down the right and engaged in a race for the ball with veteran Bosnian skipper Emir Spahic, who tried vainly to obstruct the Nigerian.
However, the central defender had completely misjudged the situation as Emineke went the opposite side and outpaced him to collect the ball before unselfishly squaring it to Peter Odemwingie, with the Stoke City striker tucking the ball away.
Bosnia had little to offer, though they could claim that they had been robbed of a goal as Edin Dzeko put the ball past Vincent Enyeama, but it was wrongly ruled out for offside.
Dzeko, though, could have stolen a point at the death when he rose to meet a corner but his downward header was straight at Enyeama, who gratefully smothered it.
The Manchester City striker went even closer in time added on as his shot from inside the area beat Enyeama but cannoned back off the post.
The referee whistled for fulltime shortly after that with the Bosnians collapsing to the ground in despair and the Nigerians jumping for joy as they — after the Ghanaians drew with Germany earlier on Saturday — restored pride to the African challenge at the finals.