Jabulani watch (18/06/10)

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The Independent Football

Argentina 1 South Korea 0 (Park Chu-young og, 16min)

Messi curls in a free-kick from the left which flicks off the head of Martin Demichelis and Park Chu-young, supposedly helping back in defence, knocks the ball into his own net from six yards. Now the Jabulani's detractors will try to point out changes in the flight of the ball in those few metres between Demichelis' touch and Park's finish, and perhaps that was the case. Or perhaps strikers really shouldn't be trying to make last-gasp clearances.

Nigeria 1 Greece 0 (Kalu Uche scores, 16min)

Was it a bird? Was it a plane? Whatever it was that Greek goalkeeper Alexandros Tzorvas was watching when Kalu Uche curled in his long-range free-kick, it wasn't the ball. It was a truly bizarre moment, another spectacular goalkeeping gaffe to add to the wealth of DVD-destined disasters already seen in South Africa. As the ball swung in Tzorvas made up his mind about the direction in which he wanted to dive... but that wasn't where the ball was going. If he had just stood where he was, a simple catch was on the cards. He didn't, and the ball bounced untouched into the net. The Jabulani is sure to be blamed, although the excuse he comes up with will have to be pretty good to fool anybody watching yesterday.

Nigeria 1 Greece 1 (Obasi misses open goal, 59min)

While much has been made of the Jabulani's less than true flight path, few have mentioned the way that it plays on the deck. It seemed fine when the Nigerian attack broke swiftly down the field, carving open the Greeks on the counter. It seemed OK too, when it rolled towards Nigerian forward Chinedu Obasi after Yakubu's saved effort. But one of those perfectly smooth panels must have been dented in that save because Obasi completely shanked his shot, missing an open goal from a matter of metres.

Nigeria 1 Greece 2 (Vasilis Torosidis scores, 71 min)

Vincent Enyeama will no doubt decry the eccentricities of the world's most notorious ball today and, when you think about it, he may have a valid point. There was no real spin, swing or movement from a ball that is meant to be unreadable. Enyeama had just seen his opposite number bamboozled by Uche's free-kick and would have been expecting something similar from the boot of Giorgios Karagounis. The predictability of the flight flummoxed Enyeama and he spilled the effort at the feet of grateful Greek full-back Vasilis Torosidis. Enyeama can console himself, however, with his second consecutive Man of the Match award.

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