West Ham star Andriy Yarmolenko picks up one goal and one assist, helping Ukraine seal a 2-1 victory over North Macedonia on Thursday.
Following a heartbreaking 3-2 defeat to Netherlands in the opening fixture, Ukraine managed to get their Euro 2020 campaign back on track with a 2-1 victory over North Macedonia.
It was a game of two halves, as Ukraine dominated the first one, showcasing a lot of dominance and skill, particularly in midfield and attack. They constantly bombarded the opposition defence, making use of their attacking overload to create chances. They found their breakthrough in the 29th minute through Andriy Yarmolenko.
Five minutes later, the West Ham winger set up Roman Yaremchuk for the second, establishing further domination on the proceedings. However, a couple of smart substitutions by Igor Angelovski saw North Macedonia fight their way back into the game, creating some early second-half chances.
They were eventually rewarded when Oleksandr Karavaev fouled Goran Pandev, drawing in a penalty. Ezgjan Alioski’s spot-kick was initially saved by the Ukrainian goalkeeper but the former Leeds United man put in the rebound to pull one back for the minnows.
Unfortunately, Ukraine were quick to embrace a more conservative approach, denying North Macedonia any more clear-cut opportunities. The Ukrainians even had the opportunity to extend their lead, but Ruslan Malinovskiy missed a penalty during the late stages of the game.
Here, at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two teams, as Ukraine increased their chances of going into the knockout round with a hard-fought win over North Macedonia.
Georgiy Bushchan: 7.5/10
Georgiy Bushchan had a quiet game in the first half, with the opposition providing minimal threat. However, the Ukraine goalkeeper made two astonishing saves in the second half, including the penalty from Alioski. Very unlucky not to keep a clean sheet.
Gjanni Alioski halves the deficit for #MKD
His penalty was saved by Bushchan, but he was on hand to convert the rebound ⚽️
— The Athletic UK (@TheAthleticUK) June 17, 2021
Oleksandr Karavaev: 7/10
Oleksandr Karavaek conceded the penalty that allowed North Macedonia to pull one back in the second half. Aside from that, the right-back had a decent game, offering a lot of support on the flanks.
Ilya Zabarnyi: 6.5/10
Ilya Zabarnyi wasn’t particularly tested in the first half, but the youngster did not crumble under pressure when he was. Made a total of four clearances, keeping out the opposition from making a late comeback.
Mykola Matviyenko: 6.5/10
Mykola Matviyenko had a decent game at the heart of the Ukrainian backline. He offered composure alongside the teenager Zabarnyi while his presence in defence was critical to his side’s resistance.
Vitaliy Mykolenko: 6/10
Vitaliy Mykolenko was not as involved as Karavaev on the opposite flank. The left-back rotated possession with ease, but nothing spectacular on either end of the pitch.
Mykola Shaparenko: 7.5/10
Andriy Shevchenko’s decision to introduce Mykola Shaparanko in the starting eleven was an absolute masterstroke. The midfielder looked fluent in possession, helping his side overcrowd the final third, ultimately putting pressure on the opposition defence. A top-notch midfield display.
So much quality in this Ukrainian midfield.
Stepanenko, Zinchenko, Shaparenko & Malinovskyi.
I love it.
— Football Talent Scout – Jacek Kulig (@FTalentScout) June 17, 2021
Taras Stepanenko: 7/10
Taras Stepanenko operated in the deepest of Ukraine’s midfield three. His positional discipline was the key behind his nation’s dominance on the proceedings, at least in the first half.
Oleksandr Zinchenko: 7/10
Oleksandr Zinchenko had a decent game in central midfield. The Man City star linked up well with Shaparenko, but his influence faded as the game progressed.
Andriy Yarmolenko: 8.5/10
Andriy Yarmolenko was undoubtedly the player of the afternoon, producing yet another impressive display on the flanks. He probed the North Macedonian defence rather well, using his trickery to good effect.
The attacker was rewarded with the opener in the 29th minute before he set up Roman Yaremchuk for the second goal. He is set to play a vital role for Ukraine during the remainder of the tournament.
3 – Andriy Yarmolenko has scored in three consecutive matches for Ukraine for the first time since October 2016, while he's the first player to score in consecutive appearances at a major tournament for Ukraine since Andriy Shevchenko at the 2006 World Cup. Leader. #EURO2020 pic.twitter.com/3JBcUfwZVU
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 17, 2021
Roman Yaremchuk: 8/10
Roman Yaremchuk produced a masterful display in the number nine role for Ukraine. He showcased a tremendous work ethic, often looking for spaces to run into. He ultimately found his breakthrough in the 34th minute, netting the second goal for his team.
Ruslan Malinovskyi: 7/10
Ruslan Malinovskyi was deployed out wide – a move that had mixed results. The Atalanta winger looked dangerous but wasn’t consistent enough. He also missed the penalty that could have extended Ukraine’s lead in the second half.
Viktor Tsygankov: 6/10
Replacing Yarmolenko around the 70th-minute mark, Viktor Tsygankov missed a golden scoring opportunity to extend Ukraine’s lead, scuffing his shot wide.
Artem Besedin: 6/10
Artem Besedin replaced Yaremchuk in the 70th minute, adding more freshness to the Ukrainian attack.
Sergiy Sydorchuk: N/A
A late replacement for Shaparenko. Didn’t play enough to warrant a rating.
Eduard Sobol: N/A
A late replacement for Malinovskiy. Didn’t play enough to warrant a rating.
Stole Dimitrievski: 7/10
Stole Dimitrievski made some fine saves to keep his team in the contest, including the penalty save from Malinovskiy’s effort. He has perhaps been the best player for his country in these two matches in Euro 2020.
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) June 17, 2021
Stefan Ristovski: 5/10
Stefan Ristovski had problems containing the threat of Malinovskiy out wide in the first half. Had a more stable game after the restart, but not good enough at this level.
Darko Velkovski: 5/10
Darko Velskovski evidently struggled to mark Yaremchuk out of the game. Also got caught for the second half and indeed the first goal, leading to a dreadful first-half performance.
Visar Musliu: 5/10
Visar Musliu didn’t fare any better either, at the heart of the North Macedonian defence. He made a few good tackles throughout the game, but had problems dealing with the threat of Yarmolenko.
Boban Nikolov: 5/10
Boban Nikolov settled himself well defensively after a poor start to the game. However, his lack of quality going forward hurt North Macedonia’s chances of making a comeback, with the right-back being replaced at half-time.
Stefan Spirovski: 4/10
Stefan Spirovski was brought into the side in order to add more solidity in central midfield. He failed miserably, struggling to keep up with the seemingly telepathic combination play between Zinchenko and Shaparenko. Replaced at half-time.
Enis Bardhi: 5/10
Enis Bardhi could not replicate his performance against Austria this afternoon, failing to offer any sense of creativity in the final third. He often looked desperate as well, eventually making way for Daniel Avramovski late in the game.
Ezgjan Alioski: 6.5/10
Ezgjan Alioski wasn’t involved much in the game either. Ukraine’s sustained pressure made it difficult for the Leeds United attacker, who also missed a penalty but reacted quick enough to put home the rebound.
— UEFA EURO 2020 (@EURO2020) June 17, 2021
Arijan Ademi: 5.5/10
Arijan Ademi was another North Macedonian midfielder that struggled to live up to the expectations. He was barely involved in the game, barring an impressive spell early on in the second half.
Eljif Elmas: 4/10
Eljif Elmas was arguably the worst performer for North Macedonia in this game. Starting alongside Goran Pandev, the Napoli playmaker looked sloppy in possession and was very clumsy with his ball distribution in the final third.
Goran Pandev: 6/10
Goran Pandev scored a first-half goal that was disallowed due to offside. Aside from that, the veteran forward didn’t find enough goalscoring opportunities in the final third.
Goran Pandev's chip was so cheeky but the linesman's flag was up 😫 pic.twitter.com/0B0j0Q0R34
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 17, 2021
Aleksandar Trajkovski: 6.5/10
Aleksandar Trajkovski had a noticeable impact on the proceedings after coming on for Nikolov at the start of the second half. He certainly deserves a place in the starting eleven against Austria.
Darko Churlinov: 6/10
Darko Churlinov offered better solidity to the pitch after replacing Spirovski at the start of the second half. His presence boosted North Macedonia’s offensive game.
Daniel Avramovski: 4/10
Daniel Avravmovski was perhaps unlucky to be penalised for his handball, leading to Ukraine’s penalty. However, even if we don’t consider the penalty, he had an awful game after replacing Bardhi during the final phase of the proceedings.
Ivan Trickovski: N/A
A late replacement for Nikolov. Didn’t play enough to warrant a rating.
Kire Ristevski: N/A
A late replacement for Ademi. Didn’t play enough to warrant a rating.