Ukraine 2-1 Switzerland: Zinchenko strike sinks visitors

Fine goals from Andriy Yarmolenko and Oleksandr Zinchenko earned victory in Lviv.

Highlights: Ukraine 2-1 Switzerland
Highlights: Ukraine 2-1 Switzerland

Ukraine got their League A campaign off to a winning start as they saw off 2019 semi-finalists Switzerland.

Ukraine vs Switzerland: as it happened


Match in brief

After the visitors started the brighter, Ruslan Malinovskyi hit the post before Andriy Yarmolenko back-heeled in the opener for Ukraine following good work from debutant Oleksandr Tymchyk.

Andriy Yarmolenko is congratulated on scoring Ukraine's first goal
Andriy Yarmolenko is congratulated on scoring Ukraine's first goalAFP via Getty Images

Haris Seferović hauled Switzerland leve with a rocket of a shot just before the break, and the visitors hit the post themselves early in the second period through Ruben Vargas.

However, it was to be Ukraine’s night and they won it in some style as Oleksandr Zinchenko curled in an unstoppable shot to extend his side’s unbeaten run to 12 games.

Reporters' views

Bogdan Buga, Ukraine
Ukraine will have learned that playing their new possession-based game at this level will be tough. But Andriy Shevchenko's team showed their counterattacks will remain a considerable threat as they scored two goals and could have had more with more composure and precision in the decisive moments. Ukraine showed great character and commitment, qualities you always need to achieve something at the top level.

A Haris Seferović goal brought Switzerland level
A Haris Seferović goal brought Switzerland levelGetty Images

James Thorogood, Switzerland
Switzerland have forged a real identity in Vladimir Petković's 3-4-3 set-up, but absentees, defensive frailties and a lack of firepower again proved decisive against Ukraine. For all their possession it took a speculative 30-metre effort from Seferović to get on the scoresheet with Andriy Pyatov not making a single save. A lack of rhythm was to be expected after a lengthy international lay-off, but Petković will need to tighten things up for the visit of Germany.

Reaction

Oleksandr Zinchenko, Ukraine midfielder: "[My goal] was a shot not a pass! I confess I once scored a similar goal for Manchester City and then I tried to make a pass. But this time I can bet all my teeth it was a shot."

Hear from Ukraine match-winner Zinchenko
Hear from Ukraine match-winner Zinchenko

Andriy Shevchenko, Ukraine coach: "All of the team played well but first of all I want to congratulate our debutants [Oleksandr Tymchyk and Bohdan Mykhaylichenko]. The first half was very tough for us but Switzerland are a very strong side with great players and well settled tactics. They made us defend too deep in some moments."

Ruslan Malinovskyi, Ukraine midfielder: "It was a tough game as Switzerland have really strong team. It was hard to play so much without the ball but when we had it we were able to find free spaces quickly. But of course, we need to be more precise in the final stages of our attacks."

Vladimir Petković, Switzerland coach: "We were not clinical enough in the final stages of attack but we never gave up and fought until the end. Perhaps our conditions were not ideal because we lacked playing rhythm but in general our team showed themselves in a good light."

Petković and Breel Embolo point the way
Petković and Breel Embolo point the wayAFP via Getty Images

Key stats

  • Ukraine have only lost one of their last 22 matches (W14 D7).
  • Ukraine are unbeaten in ten home matches (W9 D1) and have only conceded five goals in those games.
  • Yarmolenko is Ukraine's second-highest scorer, his 38th goal here leaving him ten behind record-holder (and now his coach) Andriy Shevchenko.
  • Seferović has scored six goals in five League A qualifying appearances for Switzerland.
  • Granit Xhaka won his 83rd cap, moving level with Valon Behrami in ninth in Switzerland's list of all-time appearances.

Line-ups

Ukraine: Pyatov; Tymchyk, Kryvtsov, Matviyenko, Mykhaylichenko; Stepanenko, Malinovskyi; Yarmolenko, Zinchenko, Konoplyanka (Yaremchuk 54); Júnior Moraes

Switzerland: Sommer; Mbabu, Elvedi, Akanji, Rodríguez, Zuber (Steffen 46); Embolo, Sow (Aebischer 82), G Xhaka, Vargas (Al Ajeti 73); Seferović

Next up

Both teams are in action again on Sunday, when Switzerland host Germany and Ukraine travel to Spain.