Russia down Ukraine to earn winning start

Russia 3-0 Ukraine
Dmitri Khomukha's men got their Group B campaign off to a winning start as three second-half goals steered them to a comfortable victory.

Dzhamaldin Khodzhaniyazov curls in Russia's opener
Dzhamaldin Khodzhaniyazov curls in Russia's opener ©Sportsfile

Three second-half goals were enough to hand Russia a winning start in UEFA European Under-17 Championship Group B, as Ukraine failed to build on a strong start in Zlate Moravce. 

Dmitri Khomukha's team got their campaign up and running in the 47th minute as centre-back Khodzhaniyazov sent a perfect free-kick into the corner. Maksim Mayrovich doubled the lead shortly after, before Rifat Zhemaletdinov completed the formalities as Russia made a positive start in their bid to repeat their 2006 success.

Ukraine, who failed to win a game in their last three visits to this tournament in 2002, 2004 and 2007, seemed determined to set that record straight with a strong opening. After just three minutes, Viktor Tsygankov's ball found Maxym Tretyakov in space on the left, yet Valeriy Luchkevych failed to find the target at the front post.

Despite their early dominance, it was the Ukraine No1 who was first forced into action, Vadym Soldatenko sensing the danger to rush from his line and clear Aleksei Gasilin's knock-down with Danila Buranov in place to pounce.

FC Zenit St Petersburg forward Gasilin then saw a low drive saved at the front post, before Ukraine responded through the ever-dangerous Olexandr Zinchenko. The No17 drilled just over from the edge of the area, before sending a back-post volley just wide after being picked out expertly by Andriy Boryachuk.

Khomukha's men emerged after the break break rejuvinated. Beka Vachiberadze tripped Aleksandr Golovin 20 metres from goal and Khodzhaniyazov used his trusty left foot to send the ball over the wall and into the bottom-right corner.

Vachiberadze then drove over as Ukraine looked for an equaliser, but a deft finish from substitute Mayrovich, who turned in Denis Yakuba's centre, and a third from Zhemaletdinov finished off Olexandr Holovko's charges, who will aim to break their duck in three days' time against Italy.