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Ukraine 1 Spain 0 – 2020-21 UEFA Nations League Report
2020-21 UEFA Nations League – Matchday 4 of 6 Report – Monday, October 13, 2020
Ukraine 1 Spain 0 – Group A4
Tsigankov's strike sinks Spanish armada
Ukraine pulled off a stunning 1-0 win over Spain at the NSK Olimpiyskiy, Kyiv, on Tuesday night, handing the visitors their first defeat in the 2020-21 Nations League.
Los Rojas dominated the game absolutely, attacking from the word go.
Ukraine's compact and deep defensive formation that was nearly effective against Germany seemed to work here although it was goalkeeper Georgiy Bushchan, making only his third appearance, saved the day for the hosts.
He thwarted attempts from Mikel Oyarzabal, Ansu Fati and a Sergio Ramos free-kick which looked destined for the top corner – all this coming in the first half.
Luis Enrique's men pushed after the break as Rodri hit the outside of the post.
But Ukraine were a lot more attacking in the second half and were rewarded for their endeavors when Viktor Tsygankov expertly controlled a Andriy Yarmolenko pass at the edge of the area and beat an untested David de Gea for the game's only goal in the 76th minute.
The goal set off wild celebrations among the Ukraine team members on the sidelines and the 15,000 fans spaced out across the stadium.
Adama Traore sent in a number of dangerous crosses late on, but Spain – without a recognized No.9 were unable to convert any of those deliveries as the hosts held on for a famous win.
After suffering humiliation from a 4-0 reverse to Spain in September and a 7-1 thrashing at the hands of France in a friendly last week, this victory comes as a relief to Andriy Shevchenko's team who now stand an outside chance to make it to the next stage being on equal points with Germany but down by a place in the 3rd owing to an inferior goal average.
For Spain there was little excuse for not being on the score sheet what with a 72 percent ball possession and 21 attempts on the goal. (Ukraine managed just two shots on target).
Only Bushchan stood in the Spaniards' way, making as many as 8 incredible saves and playing almost a lone hand in keeping them at bay.
Spain have now failed to score in two consecutive games for the first time in a long time – a 0-0 in a friendly vs Portugal and October 13th's 1-0 loss to Ukraine after scoring in each of their previous 42 matches (121 goals at an average of 2.9 goals per game).
But despite the Kyiv defeat, Los Rojas still lead the Group A4 with 7 points from their four outings.
Ukraine starting XI: Buschan (goal); Karavaev, Zabarnyi, Mykolenko, Sobol; Sydorchuk, Makarenko, Shaparenko; Yarmolenko, Yaremchuk, Zubkov
Subs: Kovalenko 60’, Tsigankov 65’
Spain starting XI: De Gea (goal); Navas, Ramos, Torres, Reguilón; Canales, Rodri, Merino; Adama, Rodrigo , Ansu Fati (Torres 58’)
Subs: Dani Olmo 73’, Ceballos 46’, Oyarzabal 58’, Torres 58’