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Late Goal Gives Nigeria Winning Edge : Group D: Amokachi scores in fifth minute of injury time in 2-0 victory over Greece, enabling Africans to win title on goal differential.

July 01, 1994|From Associated Press

FOXBORO, Mass. — Daniel Amokachi scored in the fifth minute of injury time, giving Nigeria a 2-0 victory over Greece on Thursday night that clinched the World Cup Group D title.

Nigeria will play Italy in the second round Tuesday at Foxboro Stadium, in Foxboro, Mass.

In their Cup finals debut, the Nigerians finished 2-1 in the group, as did Argentina and Bulgaria. But the Nigerians had a 6-2 goal differential thanks to Amokachi's long shot in the dying seconds. That was better than Bulgaria, which beat Argentina, 2-0, Thursday and also got a last-second goal, and Argentina, which had 6-3 differentials.

Amokachi beat two defenders and unleased a 25-yard shot that rocketed into the corner of the net. Goalkeeper Peter Rufai did a somersault as the rest of his teammates celebrated upfield.

Seconds later, the whistle sounded to end the game and put Nigeria ahead of the Argentines and Bulgarians.

Both Nigeria and Bulgaria scored in the frantic final five minutes of their games to improve their fortunes.

Nigeria had been headed for Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., and a meeting with Mexico until the late goal.

Nigeria took a 1-0 lead in the second minute of first-half injury time when George Finidi softly chipped a shot over goalkeeper Christos Karkamanis.

That goal came after Nigeria missed two chances earlier in the half, including a 30-yard blast off the crossbar by Finidi in the 22nd minute.

The game was a bit of a moral victory for Greece, which lost its first two matches--to Argentina and Bulgaria--by identical 4-0 scores. It trailed after only five minutes against Argentina and after two minutes against Bulgaria.

But with its third goalkeeper in as many games, Karkamanis, Greece appeared more confident, giving Nigeria few chances and creating a few of its own.

Greece twice was denied by Rufai in the last six minutes. Panagiotis Tsalouhidis blasted a close-range shot that Rufai got his left hand on, and then Rufai smothered a shot by Savas Kofidis after the ensuing corner kick.

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