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World Cup 2010: Nigeria v South Korea - as it happened
Paul Doyle - 4 years ago

Teams:Nigeria: 1-Vincent Enyeama; 17-Chidi Odiah, 6-Danny Shittu, 2-Joseph Yobo, 5-Rabiu Afolabi, 12-Kalu Uche, 20-Dickson Etuhu, 13-Yusuf Ayila, 8-Yakubu Aiyegbeni, 19-Chinedu Obasi, 4-Nwankwo Kanu.

South Korea: 18-Jung Sung-ryong; 22-Cha Du-ri, 12-Lee Young-pyo, 4-Cho Yong-hyung, 14-Lee Jung-soo, 8-Kim Jung-woo, 16-Ki Sung-yong, 7-Park Ji-sung, 17-Lee Chung-yong, 10-Park Chu-young, 19-Yeom Ki-hun.

Referee: Olegario Benquerenca (Portugal)

Proceeds from the ubiquitous advertising hoarding: Not going to anyone in South Africa, rather to everyone's favourite Swiss-based "charity".

Preamble: A curious quirk of fate: Nigeria have lost both their matches so far but are perhaps the best placed African team to progress to the next round. Any win here will suffice unless Argentina take an extended nap against Greece, who, admittedly, are capable of boring anyone to sleep. For whatever it's worth, I reckon South Korea will triumph - they're a slick and well-drilled team.

I can confirm that I am about to quote Garth Crooks, who is raging at the inclusion of Kanu in Nigeria's starting line-up. "I don't care what his passport says," fumes the Crookster ... "that man is older than me." Garth Crooks is 52-year-old.

National anthems: There's a fine line between serene and deathly boring and the Nigerian one is on the wrong side of it. How inappropriate for that vibrant country. The South Korean is no better, sounding a lot like the sort of thing you'd hear over the closing credits of a weepy straight-to-dvd movie. It's high time militaristic brass bands were banned from these formalities: all anthems should be played solely on drums or banjo, or by Fela Kuti.

1 min: Korea kick off.

2 min: Almost the perfect start for South Korea. They tore down the right and slipped a ball through for Lee Chung-yong, who slid for it with Enyeama and got there first, but could only direct it into the sidenetting. The striker may regret his bravery because he's down injured now.

4 min: After a rub-down with the magic sponge, Lee Chung-yong regains his feet, just in time to help his team-mates chase the ball, which is what they've been doing for the last two minutes as Nigeria circulate it snappily.

6 min: Early indications are that Kanu is playing in a stationary role just behind Yakubu, which makes him a sort of misplaced corner flag.

7 min: Freekick to South Korea as Ayila is punished for being stronger than Ki Sung-young, who fell following a collision with the Nigeria's shoulder.

8 min: Ki spots some pals in the crowd ... and obligingly sends them a souvenir ball. Or was he attempting a shot?

9 min: Yikes! Shittu is in serious pain after jarring his knee as he went to get up after heading the ball clear. That looks like ligament knack and no matter how persistent the aerosol that the physio is now spraying like a man determined to finish off the ozone layer, the burly centreback may not recover. Oh hold on, he's getting up. What is in that spray?

GOAL! Nigeria 1-0 South Korea (Uche 12) A goal of delicious simplicity, aided by some crackpot Korea defending. Odiah did well down the right as Koreans waved him on and then fizzed an inviting cross into the centre where Cha Du-ri made like Sir Walter Raleigh, gallantly laying his cloak down for Uche to walk on and sidefoot the ball past the keeper from close range.

14 min: A Korean corner yields as much as an investment in a leading snake oil company.

16 min: Park Ji-Sung fails to control a long ball over the top from Lee Young-pyo, but turns around to salute the idea.

18 min: South Korea wobbled a little after the concession of that goal but they're getting back into their groove now and starting to apply serious pressure. But so far Nigeria have defended well and kept them at arms' length.

20 min: Corner for South Korea after Etuhu nods a freekick behind. Shittu rises powerfully to nut it clear. Korea really should consider a more crafty ploy from their corners because Nigeria have significant height advantage.

22 min: Uche floats a reasonable freekick over the bar from 20 yards.

23 min: Lovely play by Yakubu, who twisted and jinked past two Koreans on the left wing before slipping the ball inside to Obasi. He took a touch to set himself up for the shot and then blazed it into the sidenetting from about 21,987 millimetres.

25 min: Korea nearly strike on the counter, Park Ji-Sung serving Park Chu-Young with a nice through-ball but the striker's finish was tame, not to say lame. No problem for Enyeama.

26 min: There are no flies on Shittu tonight. He has just rumbled across the box to snuff out another Korean attack with yet another well-timed tackle.

28 min: Kanu feints past his man and plays a canny pass to carve open the Korean defence. The move concludes with Obasi shooting weakly a the keeper from 20 yards. "Is this the first email you've received tonight?" taunts Rod Jones. No, but it is the best, which shows you the bar is so low as to be subterranean. Help!

30 min: Oh dear. Enyeama rushes out of his area to kick clear ... and then decides to try to take the ball down and dribble past Park Ji-Sung. Bad idea! The forward dispossess him and the keeper pulls him back, concdeding a freekick and a yellow card. It would have been red if not for the acute angle and the fact that there was a defender on the line. The keeper then atones for that by scrambling the freekick clear.

32 min: Another freekick to South Korea in Nigerian territory, this time Etuhu being the transgressor. Park Chu-young's low curler skids into the sidenetting. "Regarding your enquiry at 9 mins, the magical contents of that spray are ammonium nitrate and water," discloses Knut Hardt-Bakfra. "Said mixture can cure everything apart from the social stigmata that comes with knowing stuff like that."

34 min: So unlucky for Nigeria! Kanu was again to the fore, receiving the ball mid-way inside the Korean half and then rolling it to Uche, who took one touch and then fired it as if from a tank from 25 yards. It cannoned back out off the post.

36 min: Obasi booked for tripping Lee Young-Pyo wide on the right. He'll miss the next match if Nigeria make it through.

GOAL! Nigeria 1-1 South Korea (Lee Jung-soo 38) It seemed likely that incessantly giving away freekick around the box would prove costly to Nigeria. So it turned out. Ki Sung-young curled this one in from the left, and at the back post Lee Jung-soo met with his foot - although he was attempting to head it - and knocked it into the net with more than a hint of fluke.

40 min: Another freekick to South Korea on the edge of the area, and Ayila is booked. There'll be no cross from this one: it's very definitely within shooting range. Ki blems it over the wall, Enyeama gathers. "When even the South Koreans are diving, there's something seriously wrong with football," moans Scott Martin without any justification.

42 min: South Korea are on top now, albeit partially because Nigeria seem to have decided to play on the counter. Not altogether sure why because they showed for most of the half that they can dominate their opponents.

Half-time: An entertaining first half sets the scene for a potentially dramatic second one. Both teams could still go through, and everything so far suggests there will be more goals.

Garth Crooks update: He has just revealed that he changed his trousers during that half because "my wife rang in to complain about the ones I was wearing at the start", which really makes me wish I'd been paying more attention. Can any of you tell us what manner of stride he was wearing? Baggy velvet pantaloons with glitter? Nut-cracking blue denims leather patches? Transparent cordruy dungarees? Someone please ease this boggling mind. By do forewarn us if you're going to attach a photo. "Garth Crooks appears to be slowly turning into a sphere," is all that Terry Gallagher can offer by way of illumination.

This: "You know it has gotten bad for Scott Murray over at the Greece-Argentina MBM," taunts Tim Smith. They are telling Latin jokes over there. I swear." Oh well, suum cuique, I suppose.

And this: "As an American who's really taken a liking to soccer, I must admit that it's hard for us to imagine advancement in such an important competition coming down to a draw from a hat," yeehaas Matt Nelson. "Notwithstanding the 2000 presidential election, of course."

46 min: Nigeria have made a change: Echijile is on for Yobo, meaning Afolabi will go to centreback and the new arrival will slot in at left-back.

GOAL! Nigeria 1-2 South Korea (Park Chu-young 48) New half, same old story: freekick to South Korea just outside the box ... and Park Chu-young curls it into the far corner! Enyeama should have dealt with it but he'd started to move in the opposite direction and couldn't re-adjust, the galoot.

50 min: This is a reward for South Korean diligence and punishment for Nigeria slacking. They are the more talented team but they keep committing silly mistakes. "I'm American," confesses Emabes in North Carolina. "But I have a younger sister who was adopted from South Korea, and I found it a wonderful place when we visited. I also love watching Park Ji-Sung. That said, I simply can't stand their team for the sole reason of their lame goal celebration against the US in 2002, in which they mimicked a figure skater in response to Apollo Anton Ohno winning a controversial gold medal against Korea in the Olympics. It didn't annoy me because it insulted the US; on the contrary, it irritated me because it was the worst attempt at "zinging" someone that I've ever seen. 99.9 percent of Americans (including our players on the field) had no idea what they were doing, can't tell you who Ohno is, and certainly weren't wounded by this vicious figure skating barb. I think we've provided the world with a few more ways to rip on us than that. It would be like Sweden sticking it to us by insulting our women's curling team. Man, you got us."

52 min: "In South Korean newspaper, there are a couple of speculations as to the cause of the disastrous defeat of N Korea against Portugal," discloses Cho Heejae. "One is that NK players 'didn't have proper shoes'. Their reporter noticed that the NK players were not wearing studs while all the Portuguese players were wearing them. Others are speculating that the coach would have played more defensive football, but Dear Leader ordered more risky offensive strategy. The mood in NK is described as funereal. That will also apply to my home country tomorrow should we lose to Nigeria." There'll be no mourning in the morning, I'll wager. South Korea are well on top now. Nigeria looked deflated.

54 min: Park Chu-young has a pop from another freekick - but this one flies wide from 25 yards. "I am picturing you and Scott Murray sitting shoulder-to-shoulder in a cubicle in an office somewhere, trying to listen to your respective TVs and ignore the other's, alternating between checking mail, the TV screen, and posting updates," admits Art Delano. "Should I also imagine one of you is having a delicious snack and beer while the other isn't?" Yes. I am helping myself to a delicious snack and beer that belongs to Scott, just to add to the tension.

56 min: Nigerian substitution" Martins on, Kanu toddles off. "Eight years later and Emabes is still bitter about that celebration?" guffaws John Allen. "Sounds like Ahn Jung-hwan, the goal scorer and originator of said celebration, is the winner there."

58 min: Yakubu would have been in there, only his control let him down.

59 min: Yakubu with another chance! He turned cleverly past Cho Young-hyung but then took a heavy touch, allowing Lee Young-pyo to nick in and knock the ball clear. Martins is aghast - he was awaiting a pass and open goal just four yards to Yakubu's right.

61 min: That was sweet one-two twist Martins and Obasi but, after a weaving run, the latter was dispossessed by Cho. Meanwhile, Chris Ballard also wants to put Emabes in his place. "Not sure if American's don't know about Ohno (aha!)…during the Vancouver Olympics he was everywhere on TV," carps Chris. "Breakfast cereal ads, car ads, I believe he even did a spot of skating. So actually, you could say that the zinging was quite good, especially since speed skating is pretty much the only winter sport that South Korea traditionally does anything of note in. Perhaps their celebration was designed to get their own fans worked up, rather than annoy Americans?"

62 min: Excellent counter-attack by South Korea! Lee Young-pyo raced down the left and curled a sumptuous cross to Park Chu-young, who slid to meet it and force a fine one-handed save from Enyeama.

64 min: South Korean substitute: Yeom off, Kim Nami-il on. Apparently the new arrival is nicknamed Hoover, so henceforth we will refer to him thusly. "Knut Hardt-Bakfra (32 mins) disclosed the contents of magic spray as ammonium nitrate and water,|" notes Robin Hazlelhurst. "Isn't that just a fancy chemical way of saying wee? No wonder players get back to their feet sharpish and forget their pain when someone starts spraying wee all over them." well, if Knut's been using that, that would sure explain the social stigma.

UNBELIEVABLE MISS! It was a beautiful move by Nigeria. Uche waited for Ayila to provide the overlap down the right and then knocked it through to him. Ayila's cross was perfect, eliminating hte keeper and leaving Yakubu with nothing to do but tap the ball into an empty goal from three yards out .... and somehow he skewed his shot wide! It's a Chris Iwelumo special!

PENALTY TO NIGERIA! Hoover goofs, chopping down Obasi in an act of ridiculous and blatant clumsiness. Guess who's going to take it? Yakubu ... and he calmly waits for the keeper to commit himself and then slots it in the other direction. Hats off to the striker for showing such composure moments after that absurd miss.

70 min: A strange five minutes for Yakubu concludes with him being subbed off and replaced by Obinna.

72 min: "Oh Shittu!" blurts Nigerians all over the world as the burly stopper nearly pokes the ball into his own goal! Luckily for him it went into the sidenetting instead. The ensuing corner triggered chaos in the Nigerian box but eventually the Super Eagles scramble the ball away. This match is a helter-skelter delight and no mistake. "Well now we know how Kim Nam-Il got his nickname," drawls Gary Ford following the foul that lead to Yakubu's penalty. "His tackling in the box sucks."

74 min: Az pause in play as Obasi goes down with cramp. "Re. Emabes in North Carolina, Apollo Anton Ohno is a short track speed skater, not a figure skater," quibbles Mark Zastrow. "As an American and South Korean adoptee myself who was in the streets of Seoul during the 2002 finals, I can attest to the vehement regard with which Korea holds Ohno, and how seriously they take short track. It's not an understatement to say that the Ohno incident, which still resonates in Korean society today, combined with the 2002 acquittal of US soldiers who accidentally ran a tank over and killed a South Korean schoolgirl in the DMZ, contributed to a strong wave of anti-Americanism that continues to run its course."

76 min: Park Ji-Sung wriggles past the left-back to create a shooting opportunity for himself but he drags his effort into the sidenetting.

77 min: South Korea have reacted to that equaliser in fine style, and again come close to a third goal, but Enyeama sprawled full-length to divert Lee Chung-yong's shot out for a corner. Meanwhile, Argentina have gone 1-0 up against Greece, so, as things stand, South Korea will finish second in this group. But this game is far from over.

79 mins: That's another dreadful miss by Nigeria! Not as bad as Yakubu's but very definitely not good. One-on-one with the keeper, Martins dinked it over Jung Sung-ryong and watched in horror as the ball trickled wide.

81 min: Fine interplay by Nigeria at the edge of the box, but Obinna;s shot from 20 yards skims wide.

83 min: South Korean pressure. The monopolise the ball around the Nigerian box before Obasi reacks back to concede a throw-in by the left-hand corner flag. But there will be a delay before it's taken because a Korean has gone down with cramp. "You notice how the Koreans don't seem to ever argue with the refs?" yelps Rob Buzz. "Even when they're wrong? How do they expect to get picked by the big British teams if they don't learn that manhood involves a whole lot of whingeing?"

85 min: South Korean substitution: Ke Sung-Yueng off, Kim Jae-Sung on.

87 min: Odiah loops in a cross from the right, Martins tries to take it down after stealthily escaping his marker ... but his touch is too heavy and the chance is killed.

88 min: Scott Murray tells me that Martin Palermo has put Argentina 2-0 up. Greece look dead and buried. Whoever scores the next goal here will join Diego Maradona's men in the next round. And if no one scores, South Korea will go through.

89 min: Jubilation in the stadium as Obinna whacks the ball from 20 yards into the net! But what those jumping up and down and squealing with joy don't realise is that it was into the sidenetting.

90 min: There will be three more minutes. And Nigeria's best plan now might be to keep giving the ball to Obinna, because he has just smashed another rocket millimetres wide from 20 metres.

90+2 min: Shittu penalised for clambering on a Korean as he tried to meet a long throw into the opposing box.

Full-time: There ends an exhilarating if error-strewn game and the upshot of it is this: South Korea will play Uruguay in the last 16 of the World Cup. Their players exult on the pitch as the Super Eagles grieve and, no doubt, reflect on what might have been had they been better organised and kept their concentration at key moments, both in this match and against Greece. Thanks for tuning in, and for your emails. Bye.

This is not a news report and may contain views expressed by the author which are not supported by GNM.

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