Mark Temnycky –
Turkey vs Ukraine – Tuesday, November 20, 17:30 GMT/18:30 CET – Antalya Stadyumu, Antalya, Turkey
Having completed their respective competitive matches in the UEFA Nations, Turkey will host Ukraine in their final international match in 2018.
Ukraine took maximum points in their opening three matches in the competition’s League B – Group 1. During this period, they outscored Slovakia and the Czech Republic by four to one. Andriy Pyatov also recorded two clean sheets. Their performance means they won the group and will be promoted to the competition’s League A. More importantly, they are guaranteed at least a qualification playoff spot for EURO 2020.
Their final competitive match in 2018, however, ended in a disaster. Having nothing to play for, Ukrainian manager Andriy Shevchenko started a rather young squad against Slovakia. Their competition, on the other hand, needed to win to avoid being relegated to the competition’s League C. The Slovaks routed Ukraine 4-1 in what was Ukraine’s worst defeat under Shevchenko’s managerial tenure.
Ukraine will hope to bounce back in their final international match in 2018. The Ukrainians travel to Turkey, where it is predicted Shevchenko will field a young Ukrainian side.
Turkey, on the other hand, underperformed in the UEFA Nations League’s League B – Group 2. Having been paired with Russia and Sweden, the Turks only managed one victory out of four matches against their opponents. There were outscored seven to four, and the Turks failed to record a clean sheet.
Their poor performance in League B – Group 2 means they will be relegated to the competition’s League C. Outside of the UEFA Nations League, the Turks have not been much better. They have only won three of their ten international matches this year, and only kept two clean sheets in ten matches. Simply put, the Turks have failed to perform in 2018.
Their match against Ukraine, however, will present them with an opportunity to end their year on a positive note. Should they manage to win this friendly match, this could potentially help the Turkish national team prepare for the upcoming EURO 2020 qualification period.
Turkey vs Ukraine – Players to Watch:
Cengiz Ünder #17 – Turkey (A.S. Roma)
The young midfielder has impressed during his time with A.S. Roma. Having scored 11 goals in 42 appearances, Cengiz Ünder has played an important role in his club. He translated this success to his international team, having scored four goals in ten international appearances. With his strong work ethic and ability on the ball, Ünder will play an important role in Turkey’s final international match in 2018.
Oleksandr Zinchenko #17 – Ukraine (Manchester City)
Oleksandr Zinchenko played an important role in Manchester City’s remarkable 2017/18 season, where the team won both the English Premier League and the EFL “Carabao” Cup. He has also been vital for the Ukrainian national team, having made 22 appearances for the Ukrainian national team. Most importantly, the young Ukrainian scored the winner against the Czech Republic, helping his side earn promotion to the UEFA Nations League’s prestigious League A. With his versatility, Zinchenko may be the face of Ukraine’s international youth stars.
Turkey vs Ukraine – Match Statistics:
- Turkey lead the head to head in all competitions with four victories, two draws and two losses.
- Over the course of these eight matches, the Turks have outscored the Ukrainians 11 to six.
- In competitive games, however, the Turks are winless against Ukraine. These two sides were both paired against one another during the 2010 and 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification period.
- Turkey’s Mahmut Tekdemir has a thigh muscle strain and will not feature in this match.
- Ukraine are without Andriy Yarmolenko and Bohdan Butko, who are sidelined due to injury.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Turkey vs Ukraine – 1-1
Turkey vs Ukraine – Projected Lineups:
Bolat – Çelik, Ayhan, Söyüncü, Kaldırım – Yokuşlu – Ünder, Kahveci, Mallı, Çalhanoğlu – Tosun
Manager: Mircea Lucescu
Lunin – Karavayev, Burda, Plastun, Matviyenko – Kovalenko, Zinchenko – Tsyhankov, Shaparenko, Malinovskiy – Boryachuk
Manager: Andriy Shevchenko
Mark Temnycky reports on the Ukrainian men’s national team and Ukrainian clubs competing in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. Outside of the Futbolgrad Network, he covers Manchester City for SB Nation’s Bitter and Blue. Follow him @MTem33