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Kozak says fortune favoured brave Slovakia

Ján Kozak admitted luck was on Slovakia's side as they won 1-0 in Ukraine but felt the visitors had deserved it as the hosts were left to rue a "stupid" defensive lapse.

Kozak says fortune favoured brave Slovakia
Kozak says fortune favoured brave Slovakia ©UEFA.com

Ján Kozak admits luck was on Slovakia's side after a 1-0 victory in Kyiv
Mykhailo Fomenko says his Ukraine team are "sad but not devastated"
Olexandr Kucher rues "stupid" misunderstanding that led to Róbert Mak's goal

Mykhailo Fomenko, Ukraine coach
We conceded a goal because of a terrible mistake from our defenders. They made a few more errors but luckily corrected them by themselves. It's life, it's football. We have to move on, to work on our weaknesses and try to avoid repeating them in the future. We are sad but not devastated. It's not the feeling we had after the France match. We'll try to recover and get what we deserve in this group.

We respected Slovakia as a team, their players turn out for many good European clubs. They have fast, attacking players and they made our task really difficult. But we controlled the game and had chances to win – then a huge mistake in defence spoiled everything.

Olexandr Kucher, Ukraine captain
We are very sad because we wanted to start qualifying with a win but ended up dropping all three points. I think the goal was a bit stupid because it was a misunderstanding between Taras Stepanenko and Yaroslav Rakitskiy – neither of them covered Róbert Mak. In general we defended well, but this one mistake ruined everything. We lacked some accuracy in attack, which is something we have to work on in the future.

Andriy Yarmolenko, Ukraine midfielder
We started well but then made some mistakes and didn't do what our coach asked. It's all our fault. We got nervous and over-elaborated. We had many opportunities but the ball just didn't want to go in. We wanted to cheer our fans and really tried to win but we had bad luck tonight. It's a pity as once again we start qualifying disappointingly, meaning we're already playing catch-up.

Ján Kozak, Slovakia coach
We were up against very strong opponents tonight and we were made to defend most of the time, especially in the second half. I can't say we controlled the game because we didn't plan to sit so deep after the break. Ukraine are really tough at home, and I admit we had some luck winning here.

However, this result would have been impossible if we had not played so well in the first half-hour. We pressed them, we forced mistakes and we got the goal we deserved. My team worked very hard, all the attacking players defended with discipline and organisation – just look at Marek Hamšík, who worked for the team and not for himself. He put everything into this game.

[The match winner] Róbert Mak didn't surprise me. We told him to be prepared for a very hard game and play as effectively as he could. He scored a beautiful goal and, in general, won his battle with [Ukraine left-back] Vyacheslav Shevchuk, who is a very good player.

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