Greece overcome a ten men Nigeria 2-1

Greece recovered from a poor opening match against South Korea to defeat Nigeria 2-1 in their second round Group B match of the 2010 World Cup on Friday at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein.

Nigeria got on the score sheet after just 16 minutes courtesy of Kalu Uche and were travelling nicely until an unecessary foul by Sani Kaita on 33 minutes resulted in a red card that reduced the Nigerians to 10 men for the rest of the game.

Greece seized the day with the one man advantage and just before half-time Dimitrios Salpingidis levelled the scores before a 71 minute strike by Vasilios Torosidis gave Greece their first ever World Cup victory.

First Half
Both sides were careful early in the first half and not too many risks were taken before Kostas Katsouranis had a crack at long range without success.

Nigeria opened the scoring after a free kick at the 16 minute mark led to a Kalu Uche goal after the Greek keeper misjudged the ball to give the Super Eagles the lead.

Greece were happy to play a defensive game until the dismissal of Sani Kaita just after the half hour changed the course of the game.

Kaita received a straight red card which left Nigeria with ten men after only half an hour into the game and he had no need to make the challenge as Nigeria were seemingly in control.

Greece went on the attack with three strikers up front to take advantage of their extra man and just before half-time Greece scored their first ever World Cup goal thanks to a deflected strike from Dimitrios Salpingidis.

Half-time the game was 1-1 and Nigeria were on the ropes.

First half rating (Out of 5): Greece 3.0 – Nigeria 3.0

Second Half
Greece were on the offensive in the second half and Giorgos Karagounis went close with a header before Gekas did the same and was denied by Nigeria keeper Enyeama.

A quick counter attack by Nigeria almost resulted in another Super Eagles goal but it wasn’t to be and not long after Greece had their second goal thanks to Vasilios Torosidis.

Torosidis was in the right place at the right time on 71 minutes when a Tziolis shot rebounded off the keeper for him to knock it in the goal for a 2-1- lead to Greece.

Greece held on to gain their maiden World Cup win and three points along with it.

Second Half rating (Out of 5): Greece 3.0 – Nigeria 3.0

Final Score

Greece 2 – 1 Nigeria

16m Kalu Uche (Nig)
45m Dimitrios Salpingidis (Gre)
71m Vasilios Torosidis (Gre)

15m Kokratis Papastathopoulos(Gre)
33 Sani Kaita (Nig)
60 Alexandros Tziolis (Gre)
88 Georgios Samaras (Gre)
89 Chinedu Obasi (Nig)

Greece Starting 11
Alexandros Tzorvas, Sotirios Kyrgiakos, Loukas Vyntra, Avraam Papadopoulos, Vasilios Torosidis, Alexandros Tziolis, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Konstantinos Katsouranis, Georgios Karagounis, Theofanis Gekas, Dimitrios Salpingidis

37m Georgios Samaras for Sokratis Papastathopoulos
79m Sotirios Ninis for Theofanis Gekas

Nigeria Starting 11
Vincent Enyeama, Chidi Odiah, Joseph Yobo, Danny Shittu, Taye Taiwo, Sani Kaita, Dickson Etuhu, Lukman Haruna, Kalu Uche, Peter Odemwingie, Aiyegbeni Yakubu

46m Chinedu Obasi for Peter Odemwingie
56m Uwa Echiejile for Taye Taiwo
79m Rabiu Afolabi

Team Game Rating (out of 10): Greece 6.0 – Nigeria 6.0

Match Thoughts

Greece were defensive early but were handed an attacking option when Nigeria were reduced to 10 men after just 30 minutes.

A much improved performance than their effort against South Korea and the Greeks attacked with purpose once they set their mind to it and now they have three points to show for it.

Nigeria will rue the Kaita send off as the moment their World Cup run may have come to an end.

The Nigerians were sitting pretty with a one goal lead until misfortune struck that now leaves them on the brink of elimination from the tournament.

Filed Under: 2010 World Cup