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Euro 2024: Ukraine keep knockout hopes alive with thrilling comeback win over Slovakia

Ukraine came from behind to secure a 2-1 victory over Slovakia, reigniting their hopes for EURO 2024 knockout qualification. Mykola Shaparenko and Roman Yaremchuk scored for Ukraine, overcoming an early goal from Slovakia's Ivan Schranz.

Euro 2024: Ukraine keep knockout hopes alive with thrilling comeback win over Slovakia osf
First Published Jun 21, 2024, 8:36 PM IST

Ukraine came from behind to defeat Slovakia 2-1 and reignite their hopes of qualification for the knockout rounds.

In a relatively even start, both sides had half-chances to create something but failed to due to a lack of quality with their final ball.

In the 17th minute, Slovakia opened the scoring through Ivan Schranz. A looping cross from Lukas Haraslin missed all of the Ukrainian defenders, allowing Schranz, the scorer of the winner against Belgium, to head past Anatoliy Trubin.

The nature of the goal highlighted the nervousness in Sergei Rebrov’s side, evident from their opening day defeat by Romania. The decision to drop Andriy Lunin made no difference as his replacement struggled to save the attempt.

Artem Dovbyk nearly equalized in the 28th minute, skillfully maneuvering past several defenders. However, just as he was about to strike, Peter Pekarík intervened to force a corner.

Slovakia had Martin Dúbravka to thank for maintaining their lead shortly after. He first tipped Oleksandr Tymchyk’s strike onto the post before closing down Mykhailo Mudryk, who had gotten in behind the defense.

As has been common in the tournament, Ukraine nearly caused their own downfall just before halftime by giving the ball away in a dangerous position. Fortunately for them, Trubin did well to prevent Haraslin from making it 2-0.

In need of inspiration, Mudryk almost provided it, skipping past a defender before crossing to Dovbyk. The LaLiga top scorer, however, misjudged his header.

Ukraine equalized in the 54th minute, with Mykola Shaparenko finishing smartly inside the box after Zinchenko cut the ball back to him. It was only the second international goal for the Dynamo Kiev midfielder.

The goal shifted the momentum, with Rebrov’s side pushing for a winner as the game approached the final 20 minutes.

They should have gone 2-1 up when substitute Roman Yaremchuk broke with the ball and ran at the Slovak defense. However, his pass to Mudryk pulled the Chelsea man away from goal, preventing him from finishing.

Yaremchuk redeemed himself minutes later, latching onto a ball over the top by Shaparenko. His first touch and delicate poked finish past Dúbravka were both exquisite.

The Slovaks looked labored as they struggled to create any chances of note in the final 10 minutes and added time.

Ukraine’s win means they move above Slovakia on head-to-head as Group E looks set to go to the wire.

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