Ukraine 1-0 England: Serhiy Nazarenko Strike Downs Three Lions
Dnipro midfielder ends Fabio Capello’s perfect record in competitive fixtures.
Serhiy Nazarenko scored the solitary goal as Ukraineended England’s 100 per cent record in World Cup qualifiers at the Dnipro Arena this evening.
Flares were thrown onto the pitch in the first minute by the home support and Ukraine exploded into the lead in the 23rd minute. They should have had the lead in the 13th minute when Andriy Shevchenko missed a penalty after Robert Green brought down Artem Milevsky.
Ten man England remained competitive and largely restricted Ukraine to long-range efforts from goal, despite a few individual defensive wobbles. The home side defended resolutely themselves, and the Three Lions had very few chances to equalise.
Shevchenko had the first attempt on goal, controlling the ball inside the England half he showed good footwork to find some space on the right. The ex-Chelsea forward spotted ‘keeper Robert Green off his line and tried his luck from high up the field, it was a speculative effort and went well over the crossbar.
England penetrated down the right flank, catching Ukraine off guard with a quick free-kick. Frank Lampard played the ball to Aaron Lennon who had made a run behind the full-back, the Tottenham winger attacked the by-line and clipped the ball into the middle with his right foot. It was cut out at the front post and put behind for a corner, Emile Heskey headed over from the resultant set piece.
Ukraine had a penalty in the 13th minute, a mistake at the back by Rio Ferdinand after a long ball forward released Artem Milevsky for a one-on-one with Green. The Dynamo Kiev forward prodded the ball past the England ‘keeper who brought down Milevsky. It got worse for England as Green was shown a red card for the challenge and Lennon was replaced by ‘keeper David James.
Shevchenko stepped up to take the penalty and he sent James the wrong way, with the England ‘keeper diving to his right. Fortunately for the Three Lions, Shevchenko could only find the post and the ball deflected wide off the woodwork.
Ukraine had the lead in the 29th minute and it was another defensive mistake that created the opportunity. Ashley Cole relinquished possession sloppily to Shakhtar Donetsk’s Vasili Kobin who ran across the 18 yard box and was challenged by Glen Johnson. The ball fell to Nazarenko on the edge of the box, the midfielder struck the ball first time with his left foot and the ball rifled into the top left-hand corner of the net after deflecting off the head of Cole, 1-0 to Ukraine.
England were still prepared to go forward despite being a man down and they nearly equalised minutes later. Wayne Rooney delivered a wonderful reverse pass to Lampard who had made a run into the right-hand side of the box. The Chelsea midfielder hit the ball first time and his shot nearly found the far corner, missing the target by inches.
Ukraine almost scored a wonderful second goal, with Ruslan Rotan beating Ferdinand in the air to head back towards Milevsky. The Kiev forward unleashed a wonderful left-footed strike that rattled the crux of the bar in the top left-hand corner, only to bounce out to safety.
The second half started at a slow pace, with England trying to control possession. Ukraine had the first opportunity of the half in the 53rd minute, with Yaroslav Rakitskiy picking the ball up on the left. The defender wasn’t closed down and let fly with a powerful shot aimed for the near post. James produced a fantastic stop, diving to his right and saving with an extended right arm.
England were still looking for an equaliser, Rooney had moved to the left wing and was finding some space. He ran at the Ukraine defence and threaded the ball to Lampard on the edge of the box, the Chelsea midfielder drove towards goal but couldn’t keep control as he stumbled and the ball trickled through to ‘keeper Andrei Pyatov.
Lampard was scythed down by Yevhen Khacheridi on the edge of the penalty area and a free-kick was given. Rooney teed up Lampard but the chance was wasted as Lampard’s shot struck the wall, and Johnson’s follow up shot was also blocked.
England were in disarray again at the back, a fairly routine cross came into the box from the right wasn’t dealt with by Johnson and substitute James Milner. They managed to scramble the ball out for a corner but it was shakey defending. Ukraine didn’t capitalise from the set piece.
Ukraine captain Anatoliy Tymoschuk had a long-range effort on goal but it limped wide of James’ right-hand post.
Substitute Andriy Yarmolenko had a chance to finish the game in the 80th minute. The young Dynamo Kiev forward found space in behind the England defence on the left flank and was played through by Shevchenko. Yarmolenko entered the box on the left and struck his shot across goal but it was well saved by James, still 1-0 to Ukraine.
Substitute Carlton Cole did well to create a chance for Rooney in the final stages, the West Ham United forward drove at the Ukraine defence from the left and laid the ball off the Rooney in the centre. The Manchester United striker controlled then unleashed a low curling effort towards the bottom left-hand corner but his shot was just wide of the mark.
Ukraine defended well throughout the 90 minutes and though they were aided by the sending off, probably deserved the victory for their defensive performance. The win means they will most likely be heading into the play off, at the expense of Croatia.