Enyeama gifts Greece points
Published 18/06/2010 | 05:00
A blunder by Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, curiously named man-of-the-match, handed Greece their first-ever World Cup victory yesterday and left the Super Eagles facing an early exit from the tournament.
Enyeama, whose team were down to 10 men following Sani Kaita's red card, failed to deal with a soft shot from Alexandros Tziolis in the 72nd minute. The rebound fell kindly to Vasileios Torosidis, who toe-poked the ball home.
It was a sad end for Nigeria who had opened the scoring through Kalu Uche's free-kick, only for Greece to equalise through Dimitrios Salpingidis' deflected shot. Kaita accepted referee Oscar Ruiz's decision to award him a red card for a studs-up challenge on Torosidis.
"I would like to apologise to the Nigerian people, my team-mates and to the officials," said Kaita.
Nigeria coach Lars Lagerback, meanwhile, was left frustrated by the officials.
"You go to the World Cup every four years and I am extremely disappointed," he said. "The referees tell us to cooperate but you cannot speak to them after the game."
Greece -- Tzorvas; Vyntra, Papadopoulos, Kyrgiakos, Torosidis, Papastathopoulos (Samaras, 37); Tziolis, Katsouranis, Karagounis; Gekas (Ninis, 79), Salpigidis.
Nigeria -- Enyeama; Odiah, Yobo, Shittu, Taiwo (Echiejile, 55; Afolabi, 79); Kaita, Etuhu, Haruna, Uche; Yakubu,Odemwingie (Obasi, 46).
Ref -- O Ruiz (Colombia).