Wednesday 23 August 2017

Draw dumps Nigeria out

ANOTHER day, another African disappointment at this World Cup, WRITES Michael Norrish.

Taking just one point from Group B means Nigeria -- like Cameroon and hosts South Africa -- will watch the rest of the action on television, a setback for the tournament's flavour, if not for its quality.

Indeed, while this match produced enough tension to keep a crowd of 60,000 gripped, it also bore witness to the miss of the tournament.

Ayegbeni Yakubu, the Everton striker, inexplicably stroked the most straightforward of opportunities wide of the post with the South Korean 'keeper completely out of the picture.

South Korea will not frighten Uruguay on Saturday, but they did show impressive resolve after falling behind when Kala Uche scored his second goal of the tournament.

Uche met Chidi Odiah's centre with a cute right-foot finish which beat Jung Sung-ryong at his near post.

The Koreans were in the ascendancy by the break, and it was Lee Jung-soo who volleyed home Ki Sung-yong's floated free-kick for his second goal of the tournament.

Lee had stooped to head the dipping ball at the far post, but stuck out a boot at the last minute after he deciding he couldn't duck his head any lower.

Park Chu-young gave the Koreans the lead four minutes after the break when he curled a free-kick around the wall.

Yakubu made partial amends for his miss when he slotted home a penalty after Kim Nam-il had fouled Chinedu Obasi.

Both sides had chances to win the game in the final 20 minutes, but the draw was enough for South Korea to progress and leave Nigeria as the third African team to exit the tournament.

Nigeria -- Enyeama, Yobo (Echiejile 46), Afolabi, Shittu, Odiah, Uche, Yussuf, Etuhu, Kanu (Martins 57), Yakubu (Obinna 70), Obasi Ogbuke.

South Korea -- Jung Sung-Ryong, Cho Yong-Hyung, Lee Young-Pyo, Lee Jung-Soo, Cha Du-Ri, Park Ji-Sung, Kim Jung-Woo, Ki Sung-Yeung (Kim Jae-Sung 86), Lee Chung-Yong, Park Chu-Young (Kim Dong-Jin 90), Yeom Ki-Hun (Kim Nam-Il 63).

Ref -- O Benquerenca (Portugal).

Irish Independent

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