Although the match started so well for Nigeria, by the end of it they lay bottom of Group B, requiring favours from their opponents in order to qualify for the last 16 after a 2-1 defeat to Greece in Bloemfontein.
A dull start to the match livened up when a seemingly harmless free kick was floated into the box by Obinna.It ended up in the back of the net after the defender misjudged the flight of the ball, ducking under it. At 1-0 Nigeria were cruising, controlling the match from Midfield with Taiwo and Obinna running the show. The Super Eagles where looking increasingly likely to add a second as the Greeks lacked ideas and creativity until a moment of madness from Kaita.
As the ball drifted out for a throw in near the halfway line, Kaita extended a leg to the thigh of the Greek midfielder Vasilis Torosidis in a moment of rage that was met with a straight red card after the referee conferred with his linesman closest to the incident.
Greece responded swiftly after the dismissal bringing on striker Georgios Samaras for a defender and coach Otto Rehhagel switched to a more attacking formation as the momentum instantly swung in the Greeks favour. The Nigerians struggled to get on the ball and as halftime approached a long distance effort from Salpingidis that appeared to be heading off target was deflected past a hapless Vincent Enyema in the Nigerian goal and both sides went in level at 1-1 two minutes later.
The Greeks came out strongest in the second half as the Nigerians struggled to cope with the growing pressure with 10 men. Enyema made a string of superb saves to keep out a Greek side growing in confidence knowing that anything but a win would end their World Cup campaign. As Greece pushed for a second, Nigeria caught them on the counter attack and after Yakubu’s shot stuck the post into the path of Chinedu Obasi. His lucklustre sidefoot went wide of the empty goal. The miss would prove decisive in the match.
Enyema who was later to be made man of the match was at fault for the Greek winner as he spilled a long distance shot into the path of an on rushing Torosidis who reacted quickest to tap in from close range, prompting more attention in the direction of the infamous Jabulani World Cup ball of which Enyema himself has been one of it’s biggest critics.
Greece now have their first ever World Cup win and keep alive their hopes of qualification. Otto Rehhagel responded after the match with a rallying cry to his team to take their momentum into their next fixture saying “Now we have to finish the job against Argentina.”