Ukraine were overwhelming favourites to get three points in the opening Euro 2016 qualifying match against Slovakia. However, the first suffered a shock 1-0 defeat that has threatened to derail player tournament qualification hopes even after just one match. Ukraine were also sensationally denied an equaliser from the goalkeeper in the dying minutes of the match. Goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov had gone up for a set piece in the last few seconds of the match and he turned out to provide an unlikely point for his team, who had been struggling up until then.
Despite having the ball in the back of the net, Ukraine were left disappointed after the referee ruled it out as a foul. Ukraine coach Mykhaylo Fomenko was not pleased with the decision of the referee, as he felt that his team had scored a fair goal. He said that Pyatov collision with his opposite number was not a foul and simply an accident. Fomenko realising that he could no longer change the match, stated that one the reasons for Ukraine’s poor performance was the large injury list that he had to contend with ahead of the match. Slovakia had only one shot on target and they scored their goal through Mak in the 17th minute with Napoli midfielder Marek Hamsik being the provider.
“We scored a fair goal in the end and I was surprised the referee cancelled it. We did not foul in the penalty area, Slovakia’s keeper simply collided with his team mate. We had at least three key players missing due to injuries which affected our performance,” said the Ukraine coach. The troubled eastern European team will now be hoping to get back on track in the next round of qualification matches in October. They face Belarus and Macedonia in the next international round of fixtures.