Greece slowed things down as they nursed and eventually lost two men due to injury. Those moments were enough to disrupt the rhythm of Didier Drogba and company. Their porous defence began to gel and kept tight in key moments.
The key moment of the half, came when a simple looking situation brought pressure to Cote D’Ivoire. Deep in defence on the right, Aurier played the ball to Tiote in central midfield position. Tiote touched the ball for Koloe Toure, but the pass was too short. Samaras stole the ball creating a two versus one situation as he played the ball to Samaris. That swift move attracted Barry out of his goal line but Samaris kept calm and fired the ball over the body of the slanting goalkeeper who tried to make himself large and narrow the angle.
The Elephants of Africa started the second half stronger with opportunities to restore parity, but like in the earlier half, the midfield stayed too much behind to pick up the second ball when strikers ran into defenders. The Greeks utilised winning the loose ball to mount very threatening counter attacks. The midfield remained stuck at the back when the team attacked and stuck upfront without tracking their opponents.
Greece defenders started to feel the heat as the Africans turned on the gas. They launched their attacks well due to the large numbers of Ivorians thrown forward in search of the elusive equaliser. They created the clearer of the opportunities of the match, hitting the crossbar with thunderous shots twice with the goalkeeper beaten.
Cometh the moment, cometh the man. Bony Wilfreid came in for Tiote and caused anxious moments for the Greek defence. Salmon Kalou picked up a ball in midfield and quickly fed Gervinho on the left side of the penalty box. The speedy winger played the ball square to Bony who stabbed a side-footed ball home. They were caught flat-footed, as they looked comfortable on the way forward. Their marking was extremely bad as three men could not intercept the ball or close down on Gervinho.
The failure in match management resulted in a freak penalty after Yaya Toure missed a clearer chance in a four versus two in the penalty box. From that situation, Greece attacked from the left wing and delivered a cross into the penalty spot. In an attempt to shoot at goal, Georgio Samaras’ foot hooked a defender’s leg and he tumbled to the ground. The referee had no hesitation but point to the white spot. The Greek picked up his frame and dusted himself before sending his spot kick to the right bottom corner of the net, despite the fair attempt by the diving Barry.
Naïve piece of football.