New Picture (1)A late penalty beautifully converted by A. Samaris ended the Ivorian dream of a first ever qualification into the knockout stage of the World Cup as Greece sneaked through with a late winner.

Wilfried Bone scored a crucial equaliser in the second half after G. Samaras had taken the lead in the first and it looked almost certain that the Ivorians were making their way into the knockout stage with a drawn game but disaster struck in added time.

Substitute Georvani Sio tripped Samaras in the vital area, leaving the referee no choice but to point to the penalty spot.

Samaras stepped up with confidence struck it low and hard, beating Barry in post and leaving the Africans shattered and in tears.

It was the glorious opportunity for the Drogba-led golden Ivorian generation to make an impact at the World stage, having failed on two previous occasions but the star studded Ivorians again bid good bye to the tournament at the group stage, even if in the most cruel manner.

It was the Greeks who took a deserved lead in the 41st minute thanks to a horrendous mistake by Tiote in midfield.

The Newcastle midfielder’s lame back pass to a defender failed to get to its destination and the Ivorians were punished. The Greeks pounced on it and Samaris made no mistake with a superb strike just at the edge of the 18 yard box.

The Greeks had minutes earlier breached the Ivorian defence with a great counter attacking play and superb strike by Samaris which left Barry beaten but the wood work came to the rescue of the Ivorians.

The Ivorian attack led by captain Didier Drogba was unusually blunt, creating chances which were few and far in between.

The closest the Ivorians came to scoring was a heavy pass in the first half from Yahya Toure to Drogba just at the edge of the box but the former Chelsea striker could not control.

The Greeks were well composed and superbly perfect in their counter attacks. In the second half, Karagounis beat Barry again with a well struck shot from 30 yards but the wood again denied the Europeans.

The Ivorians pushed more men forward in a desperate search for an equaliser. The equaliser came in the 74th minute and in spectacular fashion.

Toure beat his marker beautifully before laying an inch-perfect pass to Gervinho who teasingly outwitted his marker and set up Bone with his left. Bone connected first time with his right beating the Greece goal keeper.

The Ivorians were in jubilant mood; sacrificing Gervinho and Drogba perhaps?as a way to delay things a bit more.

The Greeks, smelling an early exit, if the result had remained a drawn game, threw caution to the wind and went all out ?in search for the match winner.

They hit the woodwork again with a long shot before Samaras was tripped by Sio for a penalty which was converted.

Source: Myjoyonline



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