Soccer-Ukraine affected by nerves in win over North Macedonia

BUCHAREST (Reuters) – Ukraine had a hard time to dominate their nerves versus North Macedonia at the European Champion, coach Andriy Shevchenko stated after his group’s nail-biting 2-1 success at the National Arena Bucharest on Thursday.

Shevchenko’s group controlled the very first half versus the lowest-ranked side at the finals, entering into the interval 2 objectives ahead, however went off the boil in the 2nd half, almost yielding from North Macedonia’s very first attack.

Ukraine’s Georgiy Bushchan rejected midfielder Arijan Ademi in the 47th minute which effort set the tone for a far more competitive video game in which North Macedonia pulled an objective back by means of Ezgjan Alioski, who followed up after his charge was conserved.

“First of all this part of the European Championship is a very different atmosphere. It’s very emotional,” Shevchenko informed press reporters. “It’s a different kind of tournament. At any second, the balance of the team can change.

“We played a great very first half however they began the 2nd half extremely well and our error triggered a charge that they scored (from).

“Some sort of anxiety, nervousness appeared. We got more chances and we should have scored for the third time… but we also need to praise North Macedonia’s character.”

Ukraine’s Ruslan Malinovskiy missed out on a late charge that would have extended their lead and Shevchenko protected his choice to replace both scorers, Andriy Yarmolenko and Roman Yaremchuk, in the 70th minute.

“We changed it completely because we had to protect our goal and we had to press a little bit in front to prevent long passes,” the coach included. “We got two fresh players who were pressing quite a lot.

“I believe throughout the video game we had adequate opportunities to score more… The bottom line is that we got the success.”

Ukraine have three points after two games and play Austria on Monday. Netherlands face Austria later on Thursday with both sides on three points after opening victories.

Yarmolenko, who scored Ukraine’s first and assisted their second, said their coaches had warned them at halftime that North Macedonia would come out fighting.

“They informed us North Macedonia will begin assaulting due to the fact that they have absolutely nothing to lose,” the Ukraine captain said. “They made us worried. When ball game was 2-1 we worried a bit.

“We didn’t want to lose and it was obvious that everyone was nervous, but it’s very good we managed to hold on for victory.”

North Macedonia, who lost to Austria in their very first video game, require the Austrians to beat the Dutch if they are to have any hope of extending their remain at their very first significant competition.

(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; modifying by Ken Ferris)

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.