The Ukraine team defeated a fierce North Macedonia with some problems (2-1) this Thursday in Bucharest to add their first three points and get fully into the fight in group C for the pass to the second round of the European Championship.
Under the Bucharest sun and with the heat of their fans, who despite being a minority made more noise than the rival, North Macedonia jumped onto the pitch wanting to fight for possession of the ball and surprise the Ukrainian defenders.
The match, however, fulfilled the script set in its first half, with Andrei Shevchenko’s selection controlling the ball and reaching the North Macedonia area with some ease, which was outmatched at all times.
Unlike in their duel against Austria, North Macedonia was less robust in defense and the Ukrainian internships on the wings were a constant, with very active Yaremchuk and Yarmolenko gaining back on their markers.
The first goal of the game came from the latter’s feet and, after Dimitrievski saved a hand-in-hand, the Ukrainian forward redeemed himself in the back corner kick, finishing almost at pleasure from the small area in a poorly defended play.
With North Macedonia knocked out and without giving room for reaction, Yaremchuk made it 2-0 on the scoreboard just 5 minutes later after receiving a great pass from Yarmolenko that left him alone in front of the goal, which he beat with a low shot at the first stick.
Angelovski’s men tried to take advantage of the euphoria of their rivals to surprise with a great intermission by veteran Pandev, who, despite crashing the first ball that touched the bottom of the net, saw his goal being canceled for offside.
After a necessary rest, Macedonia, who until then had been apathetic and without ideas, did not lower their arms and returned to the field with their batteries charged.
Ademi, first, and Trajkovski, two minutes later, were close to scoring, but both times they ran into an imperial Bushchan under the goal.
The rejection of this second shot fell on the feet of Pandev, who was rammed by Karavaev inside the area, causing the Argentine Rapallini, the first CONMEBOL referee to officiate a Eurocopa match, to signal the maximum penalty.
Despite missing his shot from 11 meters, the rebound ended at the feet of Ezgjan Alioski, who put it 2-1 on the scoreboard in the 57th minute of the game.
With both, the dynamics of the match changed completely, with Ukraine waiting patiently in defense, as it already did against the Netherlands, and North Macedonia controlling possession.
Even so, the difference in level was still palpable and Ukraine proved capable of reaching the area with very few passes, as in a good combination from the left wing that Tsygankov sent away from the rival goal.
10 minutes before the final whistle, the referee, after VAR supervision, again awarded a penalty, in this case in favor of Ukraine for a hand from Avramovski.
Everything looked good for Shevchenko’s men, but Dimitrievski stopped the shot with authority and gave his team hope in the final minutes.
North Macedonia, pushed by their fans, tried until the last moment, but fatigue played against them and they did not have any other chance to tie the game and stay alive on the last day of competition.