Goals from Lee Jung-Soo and Park Chu-Young brought South Korea back from an early deficit, but the Super Eagles were almost able to capitalize on a late Yakubu Aiyegbeni equalizer and earn a victory. But close-calls by Obafemi Martins and Victor Obinna failed to come true, leaving Nigeria eliminated after a 2-2 draw with South Korea.
Nigeria made the final moments exciting, with barely missing wide right twice in the match’s final moments after Obafemi Martins missed with a chip over Jung Sung-Ryong.
Nigeria needs a win to force a three-way tied for second in Group B, a result with would have sent them through on goal difference. However, the draw leaves South Korea on four points, one point ahead of Greece, and into the knockout stage.
South Korea will face Uruguay on Saturday in the Round of 16.
Advancing past Group B looked tenuous after a Cha Du-Ri mistake early allowed Kalu Uche to convert a Chidi Odiah cross, putting Nigeria up 1-0 in the 12th minute.
A set piece conversion by Lee Jung-Soo off Ki Sung-Yeoung’s service evened the match at half, with Park Chu-Young converting a direct kick three minutes into the second to give South Korea a 2-1 lead.
Yakubu, moment after missing a sitter from four yards out, converted a penalty kick in the 69th minute to tie the score, after which Kore renews control of the match.
However, after Lars Lagerback brought on Victor Obinna, Nigeria came alive with a number of near-chances. Ultimately, South Korea was able to hold-on and eliminate the Super Eagles despite the close calls generated by Obinna and Martins.