Sabtu, 12 Juni 2010

Group B: South Korea impress, Argentina win

In the opening day in Group B South Korea scored a convincing 2-0 win against Greece, while Argentina scored a lone goal victory against Nigeria.

(to be updated after the second game)

Argentina 1-0 (1-0) Nigeria
Goals: 1-0 Gabriel Heinze (6').

Argentina scored an unconvincing lone goal victory against Nigeria in a match which the Albiceleste could have won by a bigger margin, but the Nigerians could have also done some damage had their finishing been better.

Argentina made their intentions clear from the onset with early chances for Gonzalo Higuain and Lionel Messi, and they took an early 6th minute lead as Gabriel Heinze headed in a Juan Veron corner. But it wasn't one way traffic though Argentina was the better side on display. Nigeria had their moments as the Africans did combine well, but their shots were wayward especially Chinedu Obasi whose three good chances went wide of the goal. After around 25 minutes the Argentinians took the tempo out of the match, more intend on ball control making the Nigerians run. The world's currently best player Messi had his moments in the first half as he his two attempted shots were brilliantly cleared by the Nigerian keeper Vincent Enyeama. But the 1-0 lead for the Albiceleste is a dangerous one, then such a result just isn't enough to sleep easy.

The match made a slow start into the second half, but then Nigerian coach Lars Lagerbeck made some changes in his attack around the hour mark and Nigeria looked to get better into the game putting some pressure on the Argentinians, still their finishing was not up to the mark. On the other side with Nigeria having to do more for their attack it gave space to Argentina who had two good chances around the 65th minute first a Messi shot which went wide and then a Higuain shot which was blocked by an alert Enyeama. Nigeria had their best chance up to that point in the 70th minute when a shot from left back Taye Taiwo just about missed the goal. Towards the end it was an open game with chances on both sides. First Messi missed a sitter for Argentina, while Kalu Uche had a chance on the other side but put it once more over the Argentinian goal as did Aiyegbeni Yakubu a few minutes later. In the end Nigeria looked tired and didn't test the South Americans any more.

South Korea 2-0 (1-0) Greece
Goals: 1-0 Jung-Soo Lee (7'), 2-0 Ji-Sung Park (52').

South Korea score a convincing 2-0 opening win against Greece in Group B at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth. But the Asians will need to confirm today's performance to have a chance against Nigeria and Argentina. For Otto Rehagel's Greece sadly played old fashion football and they were punished for this.

It was a strong performance by the South Koreans in the first half against a Greece who seemed surprised by their Asian opponents. South Korea have been known as a team to run miles during matches, but now they seem capable of combing well too, but only the last pass was often missing.

The Koreans took the lead through defender Jung-Soo Lee in the 7th minute when he scored of a freekick from nearly the corner spot as Angelos Charisteas didn't mark his man. South Korea were unlucky as a couple of decisions by the referee went against them, once a penalty wasn't given, while on another occasion Ji-Sung Park was through but a foul called against him.

And Korea continued where they left off before the break. Their captain and Manchester United star Ji-Sung Park doubled the lead in the 52nd minute after a blunder from Loukas Vyntra, which enabled Park to break free on the left and score past the Greek keeper Alexandros Tzorvas. After the hour South Korea looked willing to waste less energy, but the teams also looked to slow down giving the Greeks some space and chances to combine. Greece had their best chance in the 81st minute through Bundesliga striker Theofanis Gekas, who turns and shoots goal wards, but is palmed away by the Korean keeper Sung-Ryong Jung. And in the 86th minute Korea could have added a third as Chu-Young Park once more beat Loukas Vyntra, but is blocked still Chung-Yong Lee gets a shot on target which Tzorvas can clear for a corner.

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