World Cup 2010 - Greece record historic victory

Eurosport - Thu, 17 Jun 16:56:00 2010

Greece recorded their first ever victory at the World Cup finals with a 2-1 win over 10-man Nigeria in Bloemfontein that gives them a fighting chance of reaching the last 16.

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Nigeria had taken the lead through Kalu Uche's 16th minute free-kick that eluded a bunch of players in the penalty area and nestled in the corner.

But the game changed with the dismissal of Sani Kaita 12 minutes before half-time, the midfielder showing total ill discipline to kick out at the thigh of Vassilis Torosidis and referee Oscar Ruiz from Colombia had no option but to show the red card.

Dimitris Salpingidis levelled just before half-time and the hitherto outstanding Nigeria keeper Vincent Enyeama was at fault as he failed to hold Alexandros Tziolis's skidding drive and Torosidis had the simple task of tapping home the 71st minute winner.

Greece need to better South Korea's result in the final round of games to reach round two. The Greeks face Argentina and Korea meet Nigeria.

If Argentina beat Greece then Nigeria could still progress with a victory over Korea, providing they have the best goal difference of the three teams who would be tied on three points in that scenario.

But Greece, who had lost all of their previous four World Cup matches without scoring a goal before today, will saviour their moment which looked unlikely after falling behind early on.

Nigeria went ahead after Socratis Papastathopoulos was booked for tugging back Peter Odemwingie. Uche's free-kick went over the head of Kostas Katsouranis and Odemwingie and nestled in the corner with keeper Alexandros Tzorvas rooted to his line.

However Kaita's moment of madness gave the 2004 European champions a visible boost with coach Otto Rehhagel immediately looking to capitalise on their numerical advantage by bringing on striker Georgios Samaras for central defender Socratis Papastathopoulos.

Lukman Haruna had cleared off the line from Samaras before the equaliser a minute before the break as Kostas Katsouranis laid off to Salpingidis whose shot was deflected off the heel of Haruna and nestled in the top corner with the stranded Enyeama left with no chance.

Enyeama, the star of Nigeria's 1-0 defeat to Argentina, kept his side on level terms after the break with a superb block to deny Theofanis Gekas from point-blank range.

Nigeria immediately counter-attacked with pace only for Chinedu Ogbuke Obasi to miss an open. Yakubu's effort was repelled by Tzorvas but the follow-up fell invitingly to the sub who failed to hit the target with the goal gaping.

Liverpool's Sotirios Kyrgiakos had a host of chances from set-pieces with Enyeama superbly pushing one header destined for the top corner away only to be at fault for the goal.

The Jabulani did play its' part as Tziolis's effort moved in the air and Torosidis was the first to meet the rebound.

Yakubu flashed an effort narrowly past the post but Nigeria failed to create a clear-cut chance to level to leave their World Cup hopes hanging by a thread.

Match Facts

Greece v Nigeria

Goals 2-1

1st Half Goals 1-1

Shots on Target 11-3

Blocked Shots 6-2

Blocked Shots 6-2

Corners 11-3

Fouls 13-14

Offsides 3-1

Yellow Cards 3-1

Red Cards 0-1

Passing Success 83.9%-78.5%

Tackles 13-9

Tackles Success 69.2%-77.8%

Possession 57.3%-42.7%

Territorial Advantage 57.7%-42.3%

Lee Walker / Eurosport

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