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Match Report: Referees give, referees take away as Nigeria tops Bosnia-Herzegovina 1-0

Bosnia's Muhamed Besic grabs hold of the boot of Nigeria's Michael Babatunde during the group F World Cup soccer match between Nigeria and Bosnia at the Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba, Brazil, Saturday, June 21, 2014
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Bosnia's Muhamed Besic grabs hold of the boot of Nigeria's Michael Babatunde during the group F World Cup soccer match between Nigeria and Bosnia at the Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba, Brazil, Saturday, June 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)

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Instant Analysis

Not many sides could handle a sudden two-goal swing, and Bosnia-Herzegovina, playing in their first World Cup as a nation, are not among those that could.

Nigeria and Bosnia-Herzegovina played a solid match, but the story here focuses on the men on the pitch who weren't on either team: the referees, who made two almost-consecutive controversial decisions that both broke against Bosnia-Herzegovina.

In the 29th minute, Bosnia-Herzegovina's Edin Dzeko scored on a clean break right through the Nigerian defense. But inexplicably, the assistant referee watching the play deemed Dzeko offside, even though multiple replays showed him to be anything but. It was a frustrating call, but one that, at the time, still left the teams tied at zero.

Just a few minutes later, however, the no-goal bit hard. Nigeria's Emmanuel Emenike used what NFL defensive linemen would call a swim move to get around Emir Spahic. The move, which went unpenalized, gave Emenike room to pass to Peter Odemwingie, who scored with little trouble. Was it simply quality physical play, or illegal? There's a case to be made for both sides.

Nigeria were playing in their first match since a bombing in the country claimed 14 lives at a World Cup viewing.

Man of the Match

Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama was simply spectacular in the shutout. His last-instant save of a stoppage-time shot preserved Nigeria's first World Cip win in 10 matches.

Buzzy Moment

Penalty? Fair physicality? You can make a case for both:

Best Tweet

Here's a look at the controversial disallowed goal that led to bitterness from the Bosnia-Herzegovina side.

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Nigeria's Juwon Oshaniwa prays prior to the group F World Cup soccer match between Nigeria and Bosnia at the Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba, Brazil, Saturday, June 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

Nigeria's Juwon Oshaniwa prays prior to the group F World Cup soccer match between Nigeria and Bosnia at the Arena …

Nigeria's Juwon Oshaniwa takes a moment to pray before the match.

What's Next

Bosnia-Herzegovina are done, eliminated from further possibility of advancement even though there remains one final game against Iran. Nigeria face Argentina on Wednesday in a match that could break well for Nigeria, given that Argentina have already clinched their berth in the round of 16 and Bosnia-Herzegovina will be highly motivated against Iran.

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Jay Busbee is a contributor for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter.

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