- Associated Press - Thursday, June 17, 2010

BLOEMFONTEIN, South Africa (AP) — Greece claimed its first World Cup win, rallying to beat 10-man Nigeria 2-1 in a World Cup Group B match on Thursday.

Vassilis Torosidis poked home a loose ball in the 71st minute after a mistake from Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama to make history for Greece, which had lost all four previous World Cup matches and never had scored a goal.

Nigeria opened the scoring in the 16th minute at Free State Stadium when Kalu Uche’s curling free kick from 35 yards deceived everyone, particularly goalkeeper Alexandros Tzorvas, who moved the wrong way.

But the game changed in the 33rd minute when Nigeria midfielder Sani Kaita was shown a straight red card for kicking Torosidis.

Striker Dimitris Salpingidis equalized in the 44th minute with a deflected shot before Torosidis’ winner.

Nigeria broke through first when Uche’s free kick sailed over the heads of Costas Katsouranis and Nigeria’s Peter Odemwingie and into the far corner of the net — with Tzorvas completely fooled.

Odemwingie, who had won the free kick, appeared to pull his head out of the way to allow Uche’s curling effort to carry on to the Greece net.

But with Nigeria in control, Kaita’s undisciplined move handed Greece its best chance of breaking its World Cup losing streak.

Kaita was sent off by Colombian referee Oscar Ruiz after he kicked out at Torosidis and caught the Greece striker on the upper thigh after the ball went out of bounds.

“I think the sending off played a big part in the game,” Nigeria captain Joseph Yobo said. “We were controlling the game before the sending off.”

Greece pressed and made its advantage pay off a minute before halftime when Salpingidis’ shot deflected off the unlucky Lukman Haruna and into his own net.

Enyeama, who won his second successive man of the match award despite the mistake on the winning goal, then made a string of saves in the second half. But when he fumbled a low shot from Alexandros Tziolis and Torosidis pounced on the loose ball for the crucial goal, Nigeria’s chances for advancement just about disappeared.