BLOEMFONTEIN, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 17: Dimitrios Salpingidis of Greece celebrates after scoring a goal during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group B match between Greece and Nigeria at the Free State Stadium on June 17, 2010 in Mangaung/Bloemfontein, South Africa. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Greece Earns First Ever World Cup Win, 2-1 Over Nigeria

Greece won its first ever World Cup match on Thursday with a 2-0 Group B victory of Nigeria.

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World Cup 2010, Nigeria Vs. Greece: First Goals, Win For Greece Keeps Knockout Stage Hope Alive

Goals by Dimitrios Salpingidis and Vasilis Torosidis have given Greece their first goals in five World Cup matches, with their 2-1 win over a 10-man Nigeria giving the Greeks a historic victory.

In their only other World Cup appearance, Greece went through the 1994 tournament without scoring a goal, losing all three matches.  After losing to South Korea on Saturday, Greece entered Thursday's match having gone four World Cup games without scoring a goal or earning a point.

That trend looked to continue when Kalu Uche was credited with an early goal after his set piece service from 35 yards out sailed untouched into Alexandros Tzorvas's net.  The Greek goalkeeper froze as he tried to read the play with a number of players attempting to meet the cross in the air; however, each player missed, allowing Uche's cross-turned-shot to bounce untouched into the left side of Tzorvas's goal.

Greece was given hope for a turn-around in the 33rd minute when Nigerian midfielder Sani Kieta was shown a straight red card for attempting to kick Vasilis Torosidis.  A minor confrontation on the sideline led to Kieta's action, leading the midfielder to leave the pitch with his shirt pulled over his face.

Minutes before halftime, Greece used their advantage to get an equalizer, with Dimitrios Salpingidis's 20-yard shot deflecting into Vincent Enyeama's goal.

After half, Nigeria had settled-in to the 10-on-11 match, even generating scoring opportunities for Yakubu Aiyegbeni and Chinedu Obasi, but Greece finally broke through for the game winning goal in the 71st minute when the rebound of a long Alexandros Tziolis shot allowed Torosidis to beat Enyeama, making it 2-1.

The win leaves Greece in third place in Group B, holding three points be separated from South Korea on goals scored.  The Greeks play Argentina on Tuesday in their final group stage match.

At the same time on Tuesday, Nigeria will play South Korea, needing to win and have Greece lose to have a chance to advance.  The Super Eagles are currently at the bottom of Group B with no points.


World Cup 2010, Nigeria Vs. Greece: Vasilis Torosidis Puts Home Rebound To Give Greece 2-1, Second Half Lead

Vincent Enyeama has kept Nigeria in this tournament, between his performance on Saturday denying Lionel Messi and his saves on Thursday to keep 10-man Nigeria even with Greece.  The Nigerian goalkeeper's first mistake of the tournament saw a rebound caught-up in front of goal, where Vasilis Torosidis gave Greece a 2-1 lead.

A 20 yard shot from Alexandros Tziolis was screened by a sea of defenders, yet Enyeama was able to save the attempt.  But a rebound that came off the `keeper's arms bounded too far away to collect, allowing Torosidis to put-back an easy finish for Greece's second goal.

Nigeria remains down a man after Sani Keita's first half dismissal.


World Cup 2010, Nigeria Vs. Greece: Dimitrios Salpingidis Sends Teams Into Halftime Drawn 1-1

A lay-off at the edge of the area from Kosta Katsouranis to Dimitrios Salpingidis hit midfielder Lukman Haruna and went into the Nigerian goal, evening their match with Greece at one just before half time.

The goal came in the 44th minute, 11 minutes after Greece went up a man with Sani Kieta's ejection.  After that incident and Otto Rehhagel's substitution of forward Georgios Samaras for defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos, who was sitting on a card, Greece had pressed the Nigerian defense.

The goal came after a Katsouranis run in the right side of the box led him to lay-off a ball to the oncoming Salpingidis, whose right footed strike evened the match.

Oscar Ruiz blow the whistle on the half four minutes later, sending the teams into half drawn.


World Cup 2010, Nigeria Vs. Greece: Sani Kieta Dismissed For Kicking Out At Opponent

Nigeria midfielder Sani Kieta has left the pitch in disgrace, shirt pulled over his head after being shown red for kicking out at Vasilis Torosidis.

As a ball went out of bounds along Greece's left flank, Kieta and Torosidis came together.  As Torosidis turned and contentiously faced Kieta, the Nigerian midfielder kicked-out at the wing back, missing with a knee-high right foot.  Kieta had also brought his hands neck-high to Torosidis in a shoving motion.

Oscar Ruiz showed immediate red, leaving Nigeria a man down after 33 minutes.


World Cup 2010, Nigeria Vs. Greece: Set Piece Shambles Give Nigierians 1-0 Lead

A foul on the attack's left from Sokratis Papstathopoulos give Nigeria what looked like a low percentage, set piece opportunity, but when Kalu Uche's kick caused confusion in Greek goalkeeper Alexandros Tzorvas, Nigeria had a 1-0, 15th minute lead.

The right footed ball from Uche, from about 35 yards out, hooked toward the far post as a Greek and Nigierian player elevated to win the ball.  Tzorvas seemed to play for the eventual header instead of playing the ball, and when the service went over the crowd untouched, it was destined for the net.  Kalu Ucke had scored Nigeria's first goal of the tournament.

Papstathopoulos was given a yellow card on the foul.

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