Google+ PLANET FOOT 7: Negative draw between Ukraine and England.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Negative draw between Ukraine and England.

England produced a battling defensive performance to record a goalless draw against Ukraine in its 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier in Kiev.

Ukraine made a quick start to the fixture but failed to convert the early dominance, as England sat back to soak up the consistent pressure.
Roy Hodgson's side had chances of its own  Theo Walcott went close on two occasions while Frank Lampard approximately scored a late header  but Ukraine was the better side and could count itself unlucky not to have scored.

The excellent Yevhen Konoplyanka was a consistent threat for the host, but England defended well to depart Ukraine with a critical point.

England remains a point sure of Ukraine on summit of Group H in European qualifying as a result, with just two fixtures left to play.

Ukraine may have thrashed San Marino 9-0 in its last fixture but that did not end Mikhail Fomenko making four changes, with attacker Roman Zozulya and midfielder Taras Stepanenko among the inclusions.

In Lampard's 100th appearance for England, the visitor made just one change to the team that cruised past Moldova 4-0, as James Milner replaced the suspended Danny Welbeck.

Zozulya could have won Ukraine a penalty in the first minute as England goalkeeper Joe Hart lunged at him, but referee Pedro Proenca turned down the appeals, while at the other end Walcott went close.

Walcott showed superb pace to get in and behind Vyacheslav Shevchuk, only to be denied by the onrushing Andriy Pyatov.

The early chances set the tone for a frantic first 15 minutes as both sides attacked with vigour and had numerous opportunities to score.

Gary Cahill had a goal-bound header hacked away by Artem Fedetskiy and the Chelsea defender was instrumental at the other end, making three important clearances to deny Ukraine.

One of those interceptions was particularly necessary, with Oleg Gusev denied the chance to shoot, as Ukraine's Konoplyanka was proving a real threat with his pace and delivery on the left wing.

It was impossible for the match to be played at that pace for 90 minutes and a lull was inevitable, as England put extra attention on Konoplyanka and dropped back to deny Ukraine's space.

It led to a successful period for England, which created attempts on goal through Rickie Lambert and captain Steven Gerrard, while Zozulya's touch let him down after a terrific ball from Konoplyanka upon the stroke of half-time.

Ukraine approximately opened the scoring in the 58th minute as a Konoplyanka cross was flicked upon by Andriy Yarmolenko and then Zozulya, but Gerrard saved the day with a much-needed clearance.

Konoplyanka then went close with a free-kick in the 71st minute, but saw his effort deflected behind by Phil Jagielka, while Fedetskiy could only direct a free header at Hart.

Walcott had a fine chance for England at the other end, flicking just broad with eight minutes to play, while Lampard almost scored a late header, but both sides settled for a point in Kiev.


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