Shakhtar in national teams: Taras Stepanenko brought victory over Cyprus
On March 24, Ukraine national team played their first friendly game after advancing to the UEFA 2016 finals. In Odesa, the charges of Mykhailo Fomenko defeated Cyprus.
Ukraine 1-0 Cyprus
Goal: 1-0 Stepanenko (40’)
Ukraine: Boyko, Shevchuk (Kamenyuka, 81’), Putyvtsev, Kucher, Fedetskyi, Rotan (Kovalenko, 46’), Stepanenko (Tymoschuk, 72’), Harmash (Malyshev, 46’), Husev (Petryak, 46’), Yarmolenko, Zozulya (Kravets, 63’)
The starting line-up featured three Shakhtar representatives: Oleksandr Kucher, Vyacheslav Shevchuk and Taras Stepanenko. From the off, the hosts seized the initiative. In the opening minutes of the meeting, Shevchuk assisted Yarmolenko with a skilful header, but Andriy’s effort was intercepted by a defender.
After half-an-hour performance, Stepanenko had a great chance to excel. He was the first on the ball following Zozulya’s attempt, just to send the ball over the bar. But shortly afterwards, Taras corrected himself. After playing a free kick, Zozulya produced a header, the goalkeeper stopped the ball just in front of himself, with the Pitmen’s midfielder firing the ball into the back of the net to make it 1-0.
The second half featured some debuts. Maksym Malyshev and Viktor Kovalenko debuted for the national team. On 55 minutes, the visiting goalkeeper produced a poor display when cutting the angle following a free kick, with Kovalenko nodding it towards a corner, missing the target just by a couple of inches. Halfway through the second half, Malyshev powerfully struck Petryak’s pass from outside the penalty area, but missed the target. And shortly before the final whistle, a move involving Kovalenko, Kravets and Malyshev finished with Maksym’s effort, but the goalkeeper managed to palm the ball from under the crossbar for a corner.
At the end of the meeting, the visitors emboldened and created a few chances. On 86 minutes, Sotiriou shot from the edge of the box into the near corner just to shatter the goalpost. As a result, the match ended with a narrow win for Ukraine through the goal netted by Taras Stepanenko.
Photo courtesy of ffu.org.ua