Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dimitrios Salpingidis and Vasileios Torosidis scored, opening hope for Greece : Greece 2-1 Nigeria

**Greece beat 10-man Nigeria 2-1 in a thrilling encounter on Thursday to record their first ever victory at a World Cup finals and keep their tournament hopes alive.

The Euro 2004 champions, who had lost all three matches in the 1994 finals and then went down to South Korea in their opening group match here, knew that defeat would end their hopes in South Africa and fell behind early on.

But a sending off for Nigeria's Sani Kaita after 33 minutes changed the game and goals from Dimitrios Salpingidis and Vasileios Torosidis sealed the win at Bloemfontein's Free State stadium.

"We started the match quite well and I think we controlled the game. We got the goal, then you have the sending off and we had some problems," he said.

Nigeria broke the deadlock on 16 minutes through midfielder Kalu Uche, who swung in a free-kick from near the left corner of the penalty area that eluded everyone and crept in past a bemused Alexandros Tzorvas.

The pressure paid off when Salpingidis netted Greece's first ever goal in a World Cup finals after his shot deflected into the net off Nigeria's Lukman Haruna to make it 1-1 at half-time.

Nigeria took off Peter Odemwingie for Chinedu Ogbuke Obasi at the beginning of the second half, which started in lively fashion with both sides threatening.

With less than 10 minutes gone in the second period the Africa side were forced into another substitution when Uwa Echiejile replaced the injured Taye Taiwo.

It was a pulsating passage of play that was greatly appreciated by a far-from-full Free State Stadium - but it was hardly a fair reflection of how the match had developed.

Greece were in the ascendancy and although Enyeama palmed clear a header from Torosidis he was partially at fault for Greece's winner.

The keeper could not hold a low strike from Alexandros Tziolis, with Torosidis pouncing on the rebound to spark huge scenes of jubilation.

Team Line-Ups:

Greece: Alexandros Tzorvas, Sotirios Kyrgiakos, Avraam Papadopoulos, Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Giorgios Samaras 35'), Vasilis Torosidis, Loukas Vyntra, Kostas Katsouranis, Alexandros Tziolis, Giorgos Karagounis (C), Tehofanis Gekas (Sotiris Ninis 79'), Dimitrios Salpingidis

Nigeria: Vincent Enyeama, Danny Shittu, Joseph Yobo (C), Taye Taiwo (Uwa Echijele 56'), Chidi Odiah, Dickson Etuhu, Sani Kaita, Lukman Haruna, Peter Odemwingie (Chinedu Obasi Ogbuke 46'), Yakubu Aiyegbeni, kalu Uche


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