Thursday, 17th June 2010
Greek Gods of Lucky Football
Greece vs Nigeria
Going into the game, Greece and Nigeria, both without a point,
knew that Argentina had six points and South Korea
had three. A draw here and Argentina would qualify for the Second
Round by default; a defeat for Greece and the Europeans would be going home.
Typically, Greece - who were yet to score a World Cup Finals goal -
started with five at the back and waited for Nigeria to come at them. The West Africans
didn't disappoint when Kalu Uche became the first player to score a direct free-kick in
South Africa, fifteen minutes into the game.
Vasilis Torosidis, who had already gone down once in a challenge,
dropped like a ton of bricks when Sani Kaita needlessly kicked out in frustration as the
Greek shielded the ball out of play.
Sani Kaita then hid his head in the green shirt of Nigeria, once he
was shown the inevitable red card.
With Nigeria down to ten men, Otto Rehhagel made an attacking
substitution; bringing on Giorgos Samaras for Sokratis Papastathopoulos.
Then, just before half-time, fortune struck again for Greece; as
Kostas Katsouranis laid the ball into the path of Dimitrios Salpingidis. The Panathinaikos
striker's shot deflected off Lukman 'Luckless' Haruna and up over Vincent Enyeama, who
played so well against Argentina.
Kalu Uche, the scorer of the first goal, forced Alexandros Tzorvas to
tip the ball over his bar at the start of the second-half; as Nigeria showed they were not
content to just sit back and hold on to the draw.
Then, on the next break, Taye Taiwo suffered what looked like a groin
injury and momentarily left Nigeria with nine men on the pitch.
On the hour, Nigeria were powering forward again; Tzorvas getting his
left palm to Yakubu's drive from close range.
With the extra man eventually proving to much to deal with, Vasilis
Torosidis - the player who was involved in the sending-off incident - was first to pounce
when Vincent Enyeama had a Robert Green moment, 20 minutes from time.
Shortly after, Yakubu gave Greece another scare; Nigeria not prepared
to lie down and roll over until the final whistle.
Greece, lucky to play against ten men, were also lucky with both
goals. But it's a win, their first at a World Cup Finals, and Nigeria have it all to do against South Korea.
Greece 2 Nigeria 1
0:1 Kalu Uche (15 mins)
1:1 Dimitrios Salpingidis (44 mins)
2:1 Vasilis Torosidis (71 mins)
Man of The Match:
Kalu Uche - Scored from a direct free-kick and didn't give up when Nigeria were down to
12 Alexandros Tzorvas; 15 Vasilis Torosidis, 8 Avraam Papadopoulos, 16 Sotirios Kyrgiakos,
19 Sokratis Papastathopoulos, 11 Loukas Vyntra; 6 Alexandros Tziolis, 21 Kostas
Katsouranis, 10 Giorgos Karagounis; 17 Theofanis Gekas, 14 Dimitrios Salpingidis.
1 Vincent Enyeama; 3 Taye Taiwo, 6 Danny Shittu, 2 Joseph Yobo, 17 Chidi Odiah; 14 Sani
Kaita, 20 Dickson Etuhu, 15 Lukman Haruna; 8 Aiyegbeni Yakubu, 11 Peter Odemwingie, 12
Oscar Ruiz (Colombia)
37 Mins (Greece) - 7 Giorgos Samaras on for 19 Sokratis Papastathopoulos
46 Mins (Nigeria) - 19 Chinedu Ogbuke on for 11 Peter Odemwingie
56 Mins (Nigeria) - 21 Uwa Echiejile on for 3 Taye Taiwo
79 Mins (Greece) - 18 Sotiris Ninis on for 17 Theofanis Gekas
15 Mins - Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Greece)
60 Mins - Alexandros Tziolis (Greece)
88 Mins - Giorgos Samaras (Greece)
89 Mins - Chinedu Ogbuke (Nigeria)
1 Red Card:
33 Mins - Sani Kaita (Nigeria)
Nigeria beat Greece (2:0) in Boston at USA 1994 but
lost their Kirkis friendly (0:2) in 1999.
2010 World Cup Finals - Knockout Stage.
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