Austria fall short following Ukraine draw

Ukraine 2-2 Austria The bottom two in Group A ended their finals campaign with a draw that left Austria just a goal away from the semi-finals.

See the highlights from an entertaining game in Group A, as both sides were eliminated in the first stage.

Olexandr Zubkov puts Ukraine in front after 14 minutes
Austria, needing a win to have any chance of progressing, level through Marko Kvasina
Valeriy Luchkevych restores Ukraine's lead just after the hour mark
Ukraine hit the woodwork twice and Austria once, before Kvasina's late equaliser
Ukraine end bottom of Group A with Austria, also eliminated, in third

Austria twice drew level to claim a point against Ukraine in Veria, but they missed out on the victory they needed to progress as both teams exited the UEFA European Under-19 Championship at the first hurdle.

Hermann Stadler's charges knew they needed a win to have any chance of reaching the semi-finals, yet they were rocked with just 14 minutes gone when Olexandr Zubkov gave Ukraine an early lead. Marko Kvasina levelled in the second half and the forward cancelled out a Valeriy Luchkevych strike late on, but it was not enough to book his team a last-four berth.

As for Ukraine, despite being already eliminated before the game began, they soon made it clear they were keen to go out on a high. They denied their opponents time on the ball and, whenever in possession, they made the field open up in front of them with some good combination play. Indeed, that led to the opening goal, with Zubkov turning in from close range after Denys Arendaruk had cleverly pulled the ball back across goal from Olexandr Zinchenko's deflected effort.

Austria – who also needed a favour from France in the other game – were left with an even greater mountain to climb and a well-organised Ukraine side, inspired by the combative Beka Vachiberadze, were always biting at their heels, refusing to let them settle. They did manage to create one opening before the first half was out, yet Adrian Grbic's deflected effort came back off the post.

Two minutes after the restart, Austria revived their qualification hopes by levelling through Kvasina, whose shot into the top right-hand corner left Vadym Soldatenko no chance. The game suddenly opened up, with Ukraine enjoying lots of joy on the counterattack, and Olexandr Holovko's side hit the woodwork twice through Zubkov and Viktor Tsygankov.

A defence-splitting pass from Vachiberadze then sent Luchkevych clear to put Ukraine in front again, but Austria refused to lie down and set up a grandstand finish when Kvasina netted his second. With both Group A matches drawing to a close, the Austrians now needed just one goal to progress on goal difference. Despite pouring players forward, however, there was to be no fairy tale ending.

Reaction

Hermann Stadler, Austria coach
First of all we're very disappointed and down that we didn't win this game today. France really played for us, but we just couldn't latch on to our first two performances here. We were always prone to errors and I've got to say that Ukraine were far superior to us. We’ve got to count ourselves lucky that we were still in the game right up to the end.

We had high hopes coming into the game and we wanted really to impose ourselves on them in the first 20 minutes, put them under pressure and I've got to say that the way we wanted to play today was exactly the way Ukraine did play. Because of this, and given the way we played, I don't think we deserved to go through.

Olexandr Holovko, Ukraine coach
I think our victories are still ahead of us. We were happy that we qualified to take part in this tournament. The level has been of a very high quality. Sadly we were not able to realise our true potential and play the way we are capable of.

It depends on the players now in terms of whether they are going to take a step up after this. If they can raise their level and don't sit on what they have achieved, then they can do it because football is progressing: it's more about speed and combativeness and, talking about these characteristics, we have to improve them.

Austria's Marko Kvasina with Ukraine goalkeeper Vadym Soldatenko
Austria's Marko Kvasina with Ukraine goalkeeper Vadym Soldatenko©Sportsfile
Ukraine scorer Olexandr Zubkov (left) with Maximilian Ullmann of Austria
Ukraine scorer Olexandr Zubkov (left) with Maximilian Ullmann of Austria©EPO
Marko Kvasina scored twice for Austria
Marko Kvasina scored twice for Austria©Sportsfile
Already eliminated, Ukraine finished bottom of Group A
Already eliminated, Ukraine finished bottom of Group A©Sportsfile
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