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Ukraine 1-0 Spain: Tsygankov sinks Spain

Ukraine claimed a historic win over Spain and moved back into Group A4 contention.

Highlights: Ukraine 1-0 Spain

Viktor Tsygankov struck late in the second half to give Ukraine a historic victory over Spain in Kyiv.

Ukraine vs Spain: as it happened, reaction

Match in brief

Match-winner Tsygankov on 'heroic' Ukraine

Ukraine had just a solitary draw to show from six previous meetings with Spain in their history – and that was from the first encounter some 17 and a half years ago.

Here, Andriy Shevchenko's team still had to weather a storm to claim this unprecedented victory, with goalkeeper Georgiy Bushchan producing a string of fine saves to keep the Spaniards out.

He first denied Rodrigo, then Ansu Fati, and the best of the lot in the first half came to thwart Sergio Ramos's free-kick which looked destined for the top corner.

Spain pushed after the break and Rodri hit the outside of the post, but Ukraine were a lot more attacking in the second period and were rewarded for their endeavours when Tsygankov expertly controlled Andriy Yarmolenko's pass before firing past an exposed David de Gea.

Adama Traoré sent in a number of dangerous crosses late on, but Spain – without a recognised number nine on the pitch – were unable to convert any as the hosts held on for a famous win.

Enrique philosophical after Ukraine reverse

Bogdan Buga, Ukraine reporter

Ukraine's compact and deep defensive block was effective and although Bushchan still had plenty to do, he kept Spain at bay. Ukraine changed approach to be more brave and offensive in the second half, and in the end they got their chance from one of their many counter-attacks to secure a sensational result.

Graham Hunter, Spain reporter

I'd imagine the long flight home to Madrid will be used by Spain coach Luis Enrique to worry – in a positive sense. This template of how to play his side isn't new: Germany used parts of it and nearly won last month. Teams deployed it against the Spain team that was ageing under Vicente Del Bosque. Press, harass, outrun – wait for an error, wait for fatigue. Not only didn't Spain, once again, look as if the goals were going to come easily; they didn't move the ball with such danger and speed that their rival was tired out in the latter stages, when so many La Roja games were once decided in their favour. Lots of work to do.


Georgiy Bushchan is congratulated after his heroic efforts
Georgiy Bushchan is congratulated after his heroic effortsAFP via Getty Images

Viktor Tsygankov, Ukraine winger: "I don't see myself as a hero. All of our team are heroes. I also want to congratulate Georgiy [Bushchan] with his performance. I think it was the best game in his career. Our plan was to play more defensively than we usually do and to give our all on the pitch. We had lost three games in a row and we owed an apology to our fans. We missed them in the stadium so much and we are happy to have given them a reason to celebrate tonight."

Luis Enrique, Spain coach: "It's not a huge deal if across a game or two we don't score. Today we made enough chances to get a goal. Plus we dominated the entire 90 minutes clearly against a rival who wanted to squeeze space and shut down our passing lines. I've lost plenty of matches like this in my career. This is the kind of game you can be defeated in. My conclusion is that I liked the attitude of my players – I liked most of what I saw."

Key stats

  • Ukraine kept a clean sheet for only the second time in eight matches.
  • The home side had lost their last three games before this one.
  • Spain were beaten for the first time in 16 matches (W11 D4).
  • In their eighth game, Spain failed to score for the first time ever in the UEFA Nations League.
  • Ukraine had not scored against Spain since a goal by Shevchenko, now their coach, in September 2003.
Adama Traoré was a constant threat for Spain
Adama Traoré was a constant threat for SpainGetty Images


Ukraine: Buschchan; Karavaev, Zabarnyi, Mykolenko, Sobol; Sydorchuk (Kovalenko 59), Makarenko, Shaparenko; Yarmolenko, Yaremchuck, Zubkov (Tsygankov 65).

Spain: De Gea; Jesús Navas, Ramos, Pau Torres, Reguilón; Merino (Ceballos 46), Rodri, Canales (Olmo 73); Rodrigo (Oyarzabal 58), Fati (Ferrán Torres 58), Traoré.

What's next?

Spain visit Switzerland on Saturday 14 November while Ukraine are taking on Germany in Leipzig.