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Ukraine progress, eliminate hosts Belgium

Ukraine 0-0 Belgium
The first goalless draw of the finals was not short on excitement as Ukraine gained the point they needed to top Group A and end the hosts' hopes.

Ukraine progress, eliminate hosts Belgium
Ukraine progress, eliminate hosts Belgium ©UEFA.com

Ukraine gained the point they needed against Belgium to advance to the quarter-finals as Group A winners and eliminate the hosts from UEFA Futsal EURO 2014 in the process.

Requiring a three-goal triumph to progress at the expense of the two-time runners-up having lost 6-1 to a Romania side Ukraine beat 1-0, Belgium were denied victory by a stoic rearguard action and the expertise of incoming goalkeeper Kyrylo Tsypun. Ukraine's reward is a last-eight tie on Monday next door at the Sportpaleis against Portugal, for which Oleksandr Sorokin is suspended. Belgium exit with their heads held high.

That their side faced an uphill task did not deter the enthusiastic home supporters, who were given cause to warm their vocal chords further when Saad Salhi, in the starting five for the suspended Omar Rahou, stung the palms of Tsypun.

Tsypun was between the posts instead of Yevgen Ivanyak, who was nursing a knock, and his replacement had to stay big to halt Lúcio's charge on goal. As their situation merited, Belgium were taking the initiative, not letting Ukraine settle.

Once more they pressed, Jonathan Neukermans exchanging passes with captain Karim Chaibai and testing Tsypun. Before the break, Ukraine's ever busy No12 foiled Ahmed Sababti, Aziz Hitou and Lúcio, their opponents' only significant opening in that period a shot by Petro Shoturma against the upright. Tsypun quickly returned to the fore after the restart when beating out Valentin Dujacquier's drive and Chaibai's acute attempt.

As the clock ticked down, Lúcio was deployed as a flying keeper. When David Morant rejoined proceedings he saved from Yevgen Valenko and Vitaliy Kiselyov after Liliu had been dismissed for a second booking. Morant shone again late on as Ukraine let the shackles off, safe in the knowledge they had done enough. Dujacquier then smacked a post as Belgium tried in vain for a consolatory win.