Greece overcomes Nigeria for first World Cup win (Lead)June 17th, 2010 - 11:31 pm ICT by IANS
Bloemfontein, June 17 (DPA) Greece beat 10-man Nigeria 2-1 in Group B to record their first-ever football World Cup victory Thursday.
Kalu Uche put Nigeria ahead in the Free State Stadium but Dimitrios Salpingidis scored Greece’s first-ever World Cup goal after Nigeria had Sani Kaita sent off.
Nigeria goalkeeper Vicente Enyeama then spilled Alexandros Tziolis’s shot leaving Vasileios Torosidis to tap-in the winner and leave all four teams with a chance of progressing Tuesday when leaders Argentina face Greece in Polokwane and Nigeria play South Korea in Durban.
Greece went into the game off the back of a horrendous World Cup record of having played four, lost four and failing to score a single goal. Defeat would have sent them home but victory left them celebrating and still having a chance of qualifying.
After that opening 0-2 defeat to South Korea, Greek coach Otto Rehhagel dropped Celtic forward Georgios Samaras and brought in Panathinaikos front man Dimitris Salpingidis.
While Nigeria coach Lars Lagerback brought in Locomotiv Moscow forward Peter Odemwingie and Almeria midfielder Uche after their 1-0 defeat to Argentina.
Both sides made a nervous start with Greek midfielder Konstantinos Katsouranis testing Enyeama from distance but it was Nigeria who got there noses in front in the 16th minute and it was the Nigerian new boy Uche who got the goal.
Socratis Papastathopoulos was booked for pulling back Peter Odemwingie and Uche’s flighted free-kick from 30-yards out eluded everyone including keeper Alexandros Tzorvas before it nestled in the back of the Greek net.
The somewhat fortuitous strike was the first goal direct from a free-kick since David Beckham scored against Ecuador in 2006. But things took a turn for the worse for Nigeria in the 33rd minute when Sani Kaita was sent off for aiming a kick at Vassilis Torosidis.
The Greeks sensed their luck might be turning and immediately sent on attacker Samaras to replace defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos. Nigeria’s goal was under siege and Dimitrios Salpingidis was denied at close range by Enyeama, who was later made Man of the Match.
Lukman Haruna then had to hook the ball off the line as Samaras shot from the edge of the six-yard box with Nigeria desperate to reach the break still ahead.
Then in the 44th minute the Greeks finally broke their World Cup duck. Salpingidis shot from just outside the penalty area and again Haruna got a touch but it only served to divert the ball past his own keeper and give Greece their first ever Finals goal.
Nigeria brought on Chinedu Obasi for Peter Odemwingie in the second half as they tried to see out the second 45 minutes with 10 men and Uche tested Tzorvas with a cross that the Greek keeper just tipped over.
Then in the space of 60 seconds both sides could have gone ahead. First Theofanis Gekas took advantage of an error by Joseph Yobo but shot straight at the goalkeeper.
And from the breakaway Yakubu saw his shot well saved by Tzorvas with the rebound running to the unmarked Chinedu Ogbuke Obasi who missed the open goal.
Both keepers were emerging as heroes and Enyeama made another save from a towering Samaras header but then the Nigerian keeper was undone by the curse of the Jabulani.
The infamous World Cup ball seemed to move in the air and Enyeama spilled Alexandros Tziolis’s shot leaving Torosidis to tap-in the rebound and put Greece ahead.
Enyeama then saved from Giorgos Karagounis as Greece looked to score a fourth. Nigeria were despondent at the final whistle but all four teams still have a chance to progress after next Tuesday’s final round of matches.
Greek coach Otto Rehhagel said: “It was important that we could play our own game today. The team gave everything and showed how important the victory was for us. Now we have to finish the job against Argentina.”
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- South Korea beat Greece in Group B opener (Lead) - Jun 12, 2010
- Yellow and red cards at World Cup - Jun 29, 2010
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- Yellow and red cards at World Cup - Jul 12, 2010
- Greece announces Euro 2012 squad - May 30, 2012
- Messi shines as Argentina beat Nigeria 1-0 (Second Lead) - Jun 13, 2010
- Messi shines, Argentina beat Nigeria (Lead) - Jun 12, 2010
- Nigeria target all-out victory against Greece - Jun 16, 2010
- Poland, Greece draw Euro 2012 opener - Jun 09, 2012
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Tags: david beckham, durban, football world cup, free kick, front man, goalkeeper, kaita, kalu uche, konstantinos katsouranis, locomotiv moscow, midfielder, noses, otto rehhagel, peter odemwingie, polokwane, salpingidis, south korea, vassilis, world cup goal, world cup victory