Georgios Samaras scored on an added-time penalty kick to put Greece into the second round of the World Cup with a 2-1 win over Ivory Coast on Tuesday, reports The New York Times.
Samaras, who was ruled to have been tripped in the area by the substitute Giovanni Sio, calmly slotted in the spot kick for a victory that put Greece through to the knockout stage as the second-place finisher in Group C. Ivory Coast would have advanced with a draw.
“Tonight, we had energy,” Samaras said, dedicating the win to Greeks suffering through a financial crisis. “We really hope we can make the people happy back home. We are a team. A team — that’s it.”
The Greeks had taken the lead just before halftime on a goal by the substitute Andreas Samaris. Another substitute, Wilfried Bony, tied the score for Ivory Coast in the 74th minute, beating goalkeeper Pangiotis Glykos from close range after being set up by Gervinho.
That goal seemed as if it would put Ivory Coast through until the late drama. Samaras received a cross in the area and went to shoot with his left leg, which got caught against the leg of Sio. Samaras’s foot then hit the ground and he fell to the turf, drawing a penalty.
With his country’s hopes on the line, Samaras sent his spot kick past goalkeeper Boubacar Barry, who guessed the right way but could not reach the ball.
The veteran striker Didier Drogba returned to the lineup for Ivory Coast. Yaya and Kolo Touré also started despite the recent death of their brother Ibrahim. The Ivorians wore black armbands as a sign of mourning.
Greece had not scored in its first two games in Brazil and missed a handful of scoring chances against Ivory Coast, hitting the crossbar twice with outside shots. The Greeks were also forced to make two early substitutions after midfielder Pangiotis Kone and goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis were injured in the first half.