Football

Late penalty sends Greece through to last 16

Samaras earns and converts last-gasp penalty to send Drogba and Co packing

GROUP C

GREECE 2

(Andreas Samaris 42, 
Georgios Samaras 90+3-pen)

IVORY COAST 1

(Wilfried Bony 74)

A stoppage-time penalty from Georgios Samaras gave Greece a dramatic 2-1 victory over Ivory Coast in their final Group C match this morning (Singapore time) and took the Greeks through to the knockout stages of the World Cup for the first time.

Samaras stroked home a controversial 93rd-minute penalty after he was judged to have been tripped in the box by Giovanni Sio as the Greeks poured forward in search of a winner.

Their last-gasp victory left them second in the group on four points, one ahead of Ivory Coast and three clear of Japan. Colombia topped the group with a perfect nine points after their 4-1 thrashing of Japan.

"It means a lot for the team and I hope we gave a lot of joy to the Greeks back home," Samaras said. "We are very happy and gave our answers on the pitch. I thought we controlled the game and they didn't have many chances."

QUIT

Ivory Coast coach Sabri Lamouchi resigned after the match, taking responsibility for the team's inability to progress to the last 16.

"My contract comes to an end at this World Cup and there will be no epilogue and you can understand well as to why," said the 42-year-old Frenchman.

"It is logical as we did not do well at last year's African Nations Cup or at the World Cup Finals.

"I'm deeply disappointed for the players. They deserved much better than what happened tonight. It was very cruel."

The Greeks, who had failed to get past the group stage at their two previous appearances at the World Cup, will face Costa Rica in Recife on Monday morning in the last 16.

Greece needed to win to stand any chance of going through and took the lead just before half-time.

Andreas Samaris pounced on a mistake by Cheick Tiote, exchanging a quick one-two with Samaras before firing a low shot past Boubacar Barry.

But the Ivorians equalised on 74 minutes when substitute striker Wilfried Bony stroked home after being set up by Gervinho.

The Greeks went back on to the attack and won with virtually the last kick of the match as Samaras' penalty sent Ivory Coast home at the group stage for the third consecutive World Cup. 
- Wire Services.

World Cup