Friday, June 18, 2010

Kaita shows no remorse

Sani Kaita, after practically kicking dust into the eyes of Nigeria with his unguarded conduct of kicking a Greek player on the thigh in an off the ball incident that earned him a red card, showed no remorse after the 2-1 loss.

Kaita had been praised to high heavens by Lagerback a day before the game and he ended up disappointing him like Judas did to Jesus Christ.

More annoyingly yesterday was the manner that Kaita strolled into the mixed zone blocking his ear drum with his music and aided by Obinna Nsofor to ignore questions from the press.

A motley of journalists had gathered round to find out from the player why he betrayed the Eagles with his conduct. He looked them in the eye and strolled away.

Nigerian journalists begged for comments but he felt bigger than the country and moved on. Technical Committee Chairman of the NFA, Taiwo Ogunjobi, had to literally force him back knowing that it was against FIFA rules to shun the press at the mixed zone of the World Cup, it was too late as more important players came out and occupied the attention of the press.

Back to the match, Greece earned its first World Cup win, coming from behind to beat 10-man Nigeria 2-1 in Group B on Thursday.

Vassilis Torosidis poked home a loose ball in the 71st minute after a mistake from Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama to make history for Greece, which had lost all four previous World Cup matches and never had scored a goal.

Nigeria opened the scoring in the 16th minute at Free State Stadium when Kalu Uche's curling free kick from 35 yards deceived everyone, particularly goalkeeper Alexandros Tzorvas, who moved the wrong way.

But the game changed in the 33rd minute when Nigeria midfielder Sani Kaita was shown a straight red card for kicking Torosidis.

Striker Dimitris Salpingidis equalized in the 44th minute with a deflected shot before Torosidis' winner.

Nigeria broke through first when Uche's free kick sailed over the heads of Costas Katsouranis and Nigeria's Peter Odemwingie and into the far corner of the net -- with Tzorvas completely fooled.

Odemwingie, who had won the free kick, appeared to pull his head out of the way to allow Uche's curling effort to carry on to the Greece net.

But with Nigeria in control, Kaita's undisciplined move handed Greece its best chance of breaking its World Cup losing streak.

Kaita was sent off by Colombian referee Oscar Ruiz after he kicked out at Torosidis and caught the Greece striker on the upper thigh after the ball went out of bounds.

Greece pressed and made its advantage pay off a minute before halftime when

Salpingidis' shot deflected off the unlucky Lukman Haruna and into his own net.

Enyeama, who won his second successive man of the match award despite the mistake on the winning goal, then made a string of saves in the second half.

But when he fumbled a low shot from Alexandros Tziolis and Torosidis pounced on the loose ball for the crucial goal, Nigeria's chances for advancement just about disappeared.


Related stories: Lagerback finds Greece defeat bitter

Video overview of Group B in the 2010 World Cup

Eagles declare Greece must-win

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