Ukraine vs Northern Ireland – Tactical masterclass from Martin O’Neill
|Thu Jun 16 2016
Northern Ireland recorded a historic first win at the European Championships as they defeated Ukraine 2-0 with goals from McAuley and McGinn who scored deep into stoppage time to confirm his side’s win.
Martin O’Neill made 5 changes to the side which lost 1-0 to poland it and paid off as his team put in a spirited performance against Ukraine who now sit bottom of the table after 2 defeats from as many games.Kyle Lafferty was one of those to be left out – a surprising move considering the forward scored seven goals in his country’s successful qualifying campaign.
The first half was even and there were no clear cut chances for any side and the game came to life early in the second half when West Brom defender Gareth McAuley headed in a pinpoint free kick from Oliver Norwood in the 49th minute.
Seleznyov failed to take a similar opportunity for Ukraine – aiming his header straight at McGovern from an inswinging set-piece – just prior to the game being suspended due to heavy hailstorm which lasted for about 2 minutes.
Northern Ireland appeared nervous in final exchanges as they looked to see out the game , and their victory was confirmed after Dallas’s shot was not cleared properly and McGinn pounced to make it 2-0 for his country.
Ukraine will now look for a favour from Germany who need to beat Poland if Ukraine are to have a chance to qualify mathematically, Northern Ireland will next face the World Champions and a draw could see them through the next round.