Ukraine 1-1 Netherlands
UEFA EURO 2012 co-hosts Ukraine failed to win for the first time in Myron Markevich's tenure after FIFA World Cup finalists the Netherlands held them to a draw in Donetsk.
Bert van Marwijk's side were beaten by Spain in the 2010 global showpiece barely more than a month ago and they headed to Ukraine with an experimental squad. They nevertheless took the lead through PSV Eindhoven's Jeremain Lens with 18 minutes remaining, only for Olexandr Aliyev to earn the hosts a point by equalising two minutes later.
Markevich's side had started slowly but eventually found their rhythm and started to turn their dominance of possession into chances on goal, Andriy Shevchenko, top scorer in the Ukrainian Premier League, the first to go close. The Netherlands appeared to lack cohesion and rarely mounted a credible threat on their hosts' goal during a nervy opening period.
Ukraine emerged from half-time the more positive side and again nearly broke the deadlock, Aliyev, who is leading the scoring charts in the Russian Premier League, calling Michel Vorm into action. Andriy Pyatov responded in kind after Lens had had an attempt on goal, but it was Vorm who was the busier of the two keepers. Aliyev and Olexandr Romanchuk were both denied before Van Marwijk's men took the lead.
Theo Janssen of FC Twente was unfortunate not to be the man to break the deadlock, but Lens was on hand to turn in the rebound after his shot had come off the crossbar. Dutch celebrations were short-lived, however, Aliyev scoring direct from a free-kick to register his third goal in as many matches under Markevich. Both sides had chances to win but the spoils were shared.
"The first half was not what I expected," said Markevich. "The second half was much better – we created a host of chances with Shevchenko and Romanchuk both on target. The opponent's goalkeeper deserves his share of the plaudits." Van Marwijk was satisfied with the performance of his unfamiliar side: "I told them that UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying is about to start so everyone put in a lot of effort to make an impression." The Netherlands' campaign to reach the finals begins in San Marino on 3 September.
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