Men's Team

Zinchenko on target as Ukraine make history at Euro 2020

Zinchenko on target as Ukraine make history at Euro 2020
A goal and an assist from Oleksandr Zinchenko sealed Ukraine a dramatic first ever European Championship knockout victory at the expense of Sweden and set up a quarter-final tie with England on Saturday 3 July.

After operating on the left of a midfield three throughout the group stages, the City man was drafted out onto the left flank for the clash at Glasgow’s Hampden Park, with the move paying dividends.

Arriving unmarked at the back post, Zincehnko met Yarmolenko’s floated cross with a vicious half volley before the half hour to grab the game’s opening goal.

The strike was too hot to handle for Swedish stopper, Robin Olsen and nestled into the far corner of the net to ensure that no other side have seen as many of their players find the net at Euro 2020 as City’s five.

Despite the opening strike, it was the Swedes who’d started the brighter of the two sides, with Alexander Isak going closest with a curling effort which whistled just wide of the far post.

And they restored parity before the break when Emile Forsberg’s deflected effort off Illya Zabarnyi smacked into the ground and evaded the despairing dive of Heorhiy Bushchan on the stroke of half-time.

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The first big chance of the second 45 fell to Ukraine with Serhiy Sydorchuk striking the near post from Yarmolenko’s cutback.

And moments later a Swedish counter eventually fell at the feet of Forsberg who opened up his body and looked for the far corner, but was the width of the post away from putting his nation's noses in front.

There were another cluster of chances just after the hour, instigated by Dejan Kulusevski cutting in on his left and curling an effort which looked destined for the top corner but for Buschchan’s acrobatic save.

Forsberg was denied by the woodwork once again minutes later, whipping a vicious effort off the crossbar having driven inside on his right foot.

However, as the legs tired, the chances dried up at both ends, with Kulusevski coming closest to grabbing a late win for Sweden inside 90 minutes.

But his run in behind was snuffed out by Vyacheslav Karavayev’s last-ditch challenge with stoppage time approaching.

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Zinchenko and co. were handed an advantage early in extra time when Sweden were reduced to ten, Marcus Danielson being given his marching orders for a knee-high tackle on substitute Artem Besedin.

But sights on goal were few and far between as penalties loomed large, with Marcus Berg’s timely block from Karavaev’s effort the only real chance of note for either side.

However, a moment of quality from Zinchenko that was otherwise lacking in a forgetful period of extra time helped Andriy Shevchenko’s side snatch a 121st-minute victory and first ever last eight birth at the European Championships.

The City man launched an inch-perfect ball into Artem Dovbyk, with the forward planting a header past the despairing dive of Olsen to set up a tie with England in Rome and cue scenes of jubilation from the Ukrainian players and staff alike.

It means Zinchenko will line up against some familiar faces on Saturday 3 July, as he locks horns with City teammates John Stones, Kyle Walker, Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling for a place in the Euro 2020 semis.

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