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World Cup 2010: Nigeria 2-2 South Korea – Yakubu penalty not enough as draw sends 2002 semi-finalists into knock-out stages

World Cup 2010: Nigeria 2-2 South Korea – Yakubu penalty not enough as draw sends 2002 semi-finalists into knock-out stages

Koreans and Argentina advance to last 16...

At full-time in Durban Stadium, Nigeria finished on level terms with South Korea after Kalu Uche's opener on 12 minutes was negated by a Lee Jung-Soo header just minutes before the break, and Park Chu-Young's early second half goal was cancelled out by a Yakubu penalty. South Korea have progressed to the next stage, finishing second in the table behind Argentina.

Nigeria came in to the match knowing that they needed a win, whereas South Korea, who were in second place leading into the match, knew that a draw would probably see them through unless Greece could get a positive result against a rampant Argentina side.

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South Korea's Lee Chung-Yong and Yeom Ki-Hun both had yellow cards from previous games, Odiah had one for Nigeria and of course Sani Kaita was suspended after being sent off for lashing out against Greece in their previous game.

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The first chance of the game came when Cho Yong-Hyung played in a slick ball to Lee Chung-Yong at the front post. The midfielder reacted well, but he could only scoop the ball past the front post. It looked like he injured himself in the process, but after some treatment on the sidelines he was able to get back to his feet and continue.

Yakubu started to threaten for the Nigerians, but he couldn't find a way through. Running at defenders make them think twice about closing down and dropping off instead providing some good early pressure. Yakubu popped up again when Kanu did well to hold the ball up and play it into the Everton striker, but he couldn't control the ball well enough and lost out.

Almeria's Kalu Uche then broke the deadlock in an emphatic fashion after 12 minutes. Odiah easily passed two Koreans on the right flank, and he should have been dispossessed, before he swung the ball in for a lurking Uche, who cut in front of his man and poked the ball into the net.

South Korea got their chance to reply when Yeom Ki-Hun stood over a free-kick in a dangerous area on the right. It was a good delivery but, lacking in height, the ball went back out to safety with easy Uche soon reared his head again at the other end, but opting to shoot instead of crossing proved a poor idea as his shot went well over the bar.

Then, inexplicably, Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, who had been truly world class in his previous games, was booked after a challenge outside of his box on Park Ji-Sung. The 'keeper held on to the Manchester United player's shirt as he tried to clear the ball and a free-kick was awarded. The set-piece was well delivered and took a few deflections towards goal, but the Africans somehow managed to keep the ball out of their net.

Uche, who had been annoying the Koreans the entire game up until this point, then hit the post on 35 minutes. A devilish strike from range really rattled the woodwork, leaving Jung Sung-Ryong stranded, but no one was there to nudge the rebound into the empty net for the African side.

Chinedu Obasi was the first person to receive a yellow after some dangerous play down the left flank. Ki Sung-Yong swung in the free-kick and Lee Jung-Soo was able to run in unmarked at the back post to nod the ball in to bring the scores back to level pegging. The referee called it after 2 minutes of added time and the teams went in with a goal each.


Two tight to call | Contest was evenly matched and either side could have triumphed

Uwa Elderson Echiejile replaced Joseph Yobo at the break. The Braga defender is only 22, but the pace of the Korean forwards did seem to be getting the better of Yobo's older legs.

Danny Shittu conceded a foul outside of his own box in a dangerous area for the Asians on the pitch - and dangerous it was. Park Chu-Young stood over the ball and bent it expertly around the wall, beating a wrong-footed Enyeama in the process. It was a dream start to the second half for South Korea as they took the lead for the first time in the game.

Chu-Young, having just scored, was then afforded another chance from a set-piece, this time for a good 30 yards out. He struck the Jabulani sweetly and with venom, but the attempt went just wide of the right post, seemingly temporarily drowning out the noise of the vuvuzelas as it rattled the advertising boards.

NWANKWO KANU

Lee Young-Pyo moved forward from left-back to have a pop-shot, but he should have continued to build as his poor strike was too weak to trouble Enyeama. Yeom Ki-Hun, who had been wonderful throughout then made way for a defensive midfielder in the form of Kim Nam-Il in the boss' attempt to shore things up.

Then we had the miss of the World Cup so far. Ayila made a wonderful run down the left before squaring the ball into an unmarked Yakubu who was standing in front of an open goal. No easier chance could have been presented to the Yak, but he somehow managed to put his effort wide from 6 yards. It was truly a sight to behold.

However, it wasn't long before Yakubu had a chance to make up for his mistakes, and South Korea Huh Jung-Moo would begin to regret ever sending on Kim Nam-Il. The overexcited defensive midfielder would find himself in the book after scything down Obasi in the box. The Nigerian crowd fell silent as Yakubu was designated the task of the taking the penalty, but the big striker calmly slotted past Jung Sung-Ryong to bring the scores level once again.

Park Ji-Sung wrong-footed Echiejile before cutting inside and shooting, but his powerful shot shook the outside of the net. Soon after, Obafemi Martins was played onside by Chinedu Obasi with only the 'keeper to beat. Once again though, the Nigerians lacked teeth as his deft chip rolled past the post with Jung Sung-Ryong sprawled outside his 6-yard box.

Yet another chance fell to Martins as a cross came in from the right. The Wolfsburg striker failed to control the lofty ball properly s it neared the ground, and once more the Super Eagles were left ruing wasted opportunities due to a lack of sharpness at the front.

Obinna then struck twice in as many minutes in a last-gasp attempt to snatch the win for the Africans. He first made space before shooting just inside the area and seeing his attempt go just wide. He struck again soon after only to see his more powerful long-range shot suffer the same fate, which really seemed to sum up Nigeria's entire attack line for the duration.

With Argentina winning 2-0 against Greece elsewhere in South Africa, it would have taken just one more goal from the Nigerians to seal a place in the last 16. It was not to be though as the referee called it after 93 minutes, allowing the South Koreans safe passage to the next stage with the Albiceleste, while the Super Eagles join must the Greeks on the plane home.


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