Ukraine “robbed” of a penalty. The Italians will defend the title
The hosts of the match played at the BayArena in Leverkusen were the Ukrainians, who emphasized before the match that they were fighting not only for promotion to the Euro. Their game in the European Championship qualifiers had a different dimension from the very beginning, and this time was no different: they played for those who fight for their country on a daily basis.
– We want to give them joy – said Wiktor Cygankov before the match.
Only a victory against Italy could have allowed them to directly advance to the Euro. The latter’s success was ensured by a draw, although coach Luciano Spalletti did not take such a scenario into account. All this meant that both teams took the field with a very offensive attitude, which was visible in the game almost from the first minute.
Crazy pace of the match
Neither Anatoly Trubin nor Gianluigi Donnarumma could afford a moment of distraction. Even if the game had been under one goal for a long time, after a quick counter-attack the ball was suddenly in the opposite penalty area. At the beginning of the match, the Italians were creating slightly more dangerous actions, but the Ukrainians were shooting at the goal more often. Donnarumma had his hands full in the first quarter of an hour.
Over time, however, the game moved to a slightly greater extent to the Ukrainian half. The Italian players created one dangerous situation after another, all they lacked was an effective finish. However, until the end of the first half, the Azzurri did not find a way to defeat Trubin.
After the break, they attacked even harder, almost closing the Ukrainians in their half. It didn’t help much. Sergei Rebrov’s players coped with the Italian pressure, and after an hour of play, they began to deal the cards on the pitch.
Italians in trouble
After one of the Ukrainians’ actions, the Italian defense found itself in serious trouble. The ball passed Donnarumma and only the lack of a player who could close the action saved the Azzurri from losing a goal.
Although before the match Spalletti did not want to talk about a draw as a way to advance, at the end of the match extending the game and maintaining the goalless result seemed to be the optimal solution for the Italians. Breaking through to Trubin’s goal was becoming more and more difficult with each passing moment. The match, which was played at a very strong pace from the beginning, lost momentum towards the end. Also because neither team wanted to make a costly mistake.
Big controversy at the end
In added time, Mykhailo Mudryk, attacking the Italian goal, was tripped in the penalty area. The Spanish referee, Jesus Gil Manzano, did not find a foul. VAR did not intervene either, although the TV replay clearly showed that the Ukrainian player was fouled.
Somewhat stunned by this situation, the Ukrainians continued the game and even managed to construct another dangerous action, but after a few moments the match ended in a goalless draw, which gave Italy a direct promotion to the Euro. Therefore, they will not miss the next big event – they failed to qualify for the World Championships in Qatar. They will defend their title of European champions on German pitches.
Ukraine will fight for promotion in the play-offs.