A first-half strike from Peter Odemwingie was enough for Nigeria to register their first win in nine matches in the World Cup and defeat Bosnia-Herzegovina in the Group F clash in Cuiaba on Saturday.
World Cup debutants Bosnia, after losing the opener against Argentina 2-1, were facing a must-win situation against the Super Eagles, who were held to a goalless draw by a resilient Iran in their first match.
Bosnia started the match on the back foot and gifted a free-kick to the West Africans in the early minutes when Haris Medunjanin brought down Emmanuel Emenike but Odemwingie put his shot inches wide.
Emenike threatened Bosnia several times and created a number of chances as skipper Emir Spahic failed to restrict the 27-year-old. Emenike outpaced Spahic in the 29th minute and passed the ball to Odemwingie, who made no mistake in tucking home the winner.
However, the Dragons were robbed a goal minutes before when Edin Dzeko slotted home from Zvejzdan Misimovic's precise through-ball but he was wrongly given off-side.
Dzeko had the opportunity to steal a point in the final stages but his header went straight to goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama. In the injury time, the Manchester City striker again went close to equalising and managed to beat Enyeama but his shot struck the post, and Nigeria clinched all three points from the tie.
"The match unfolded exactly the way I imagined," Bosnia coach Safet Susic said. "It was an open game, two teams wishing to win, lots of chances at either end. We had a lot of chances and didn't convert any. They had one and scored that goal. I can only congratulate them."
"We knew they would be tough but they surprised us with their speed, their movement. They played attacking football, they really wanted to win. Now they are in second place in the group with great chances to progress."
A draw and a win have left Nigeria in second place behind the Argentines, who have won both their group matches so far. They two will now meet in the final game. The Super Eagles have played the South Americans thrice in the group stages of the World Cup, losing on all three occasions.
Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi was pleased with the fighting spirit displayed by his team but added that his players would have to work hard to stop Lionel Messi-led Argentina to qualify to the knockout rounds.
"Everybody is happy in West Africa; Ghana got their result and we won," Keshi said. "It's good for the continent. The fighting spirit we showed was good. I never thought that we wouldn't make the Round of 16. I have the players. But look at Iran today, if it was not for Lionel Messi. We need to work hard for the game against Argentina."