Mark Temnycky –
Ukraine vs Luxembourg – Monday, June 10, 19:45 BST/20:45 CEST – Arena Lviv, Lviv, Ukraine
Ukraine will look to extend their lead in Euro 2020 Qualification Group B as they host Luxembourg on Monday. The hosts ran riot in Lviv on Friday as they trashed a defenceless Serbian side. Wingers Yevhen Konoplyanka and Viktor Tsygankov scored braces in what was a rather one-sided affair. Ukraine now sit firmly at the top of Group B.
Recent results in the UEFA Nations League and the Euro 2020 qualification period have demonstrated the Zbirna may be finally getting over their goalscoring issues. Following the retirement of Andriy Shevchenko and Andriy Voronin, the Ukrainian national team struggled for goals from their forwards.
The Zbirna got by with the likes of Roman Zozulya, Yevhen Seleznyov and Artem Kravets, but the team failed to deliver in major tournaments, particularly at the 2016 European Championships in France. With the productivity from Konoplyanka and Viktor Tsygankov, however, it seems the Zbirna are starting to become a threatening force in front of goal.
Ukraine will now be put to the test as they host Luxembourg. The Red Lions gave the Zbirna a difficult time in the reverse fixture in March, and Luxembourg will likely look to frustrate Ukraine again. The hosts cannot be complacent in this match, and should they earn a victory, they will further extend their lead in Group B.
Meanwhile, Luxembourg drew Lithuania on Friday in what was a rather disappointing result. The visitors opened the score through Gerson Rodrigues, and following a double booking for Lithuania which saw the hosts reduced down to ten men, it was believed Luxembourg would earn their second victory against Lithuania in Group B. A persistent Lithuanian side, however, came back and scored a crucial equalizer late in the second half, where the match ended 1-1.
Despite the result, Luxembourg remain in second place in Group B and are three points behind Ukraine. Should the visitors earn a victory in Lviv, they would draw level with Ukraine on points. The reverse fixture saw Luxembourg lose to Ukraine on a last-minute own goal, and the visitors will surely be out for revenge in this match.
This Luxembourg side have shown they are no pushover and they are willing to go head to head against their stronger opposition. Ukraine will have to be careful in this match to ensure they avoid being embarrassed at home.
Ukraine vs Luxembourg – Players to Watch:
Viktor Tsygankov #15 – Ukraine (Dynamo Kyiv)
Following the Achilles injury sustained by Andriy Yarmolenko in October 2018, Viktor Tsygankov slotted into Ukraine’s starting line-up to fill in for the veteran. Tsygankov has fared well in Yarmolenko’s absence, where the young midfielder has scored three goals in three Euro qualification matches. He is Ukraine’s top goal scorer in this qualification cycle, and the Zbirnawill look to rely on him in this match.
Gerson Rodrigues #17 – Luxembourg (Júbilo Iwata)
Gerson Rodrigues is Luxembourg’s current top scorer in Euro 2020 qualification Group B, where he has scored two goals in three matches. He was the unfortunate culprit in his side’s loss to Ukraine in March as he netted a last-minute own goal. As a result, he will look to make amends in this match to compensate for this error. His pace frustrated the Ukrainian defense in the previous fixture, and he will likely cause problems for hosts.
Ukraine vs Luxembourg – Match Statistics:
- Ukraine defeated Luxembourg in their previous three Euro qualification matches. The Zbirnahave outscored the Red Lions by 8-1.
- Ukraine are first in Euro 2020 Qualification Group B with seven points and a goal difference of +6.
- Luxembourg are second in Group B with four points and a goal difference of 0.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Ukraine vs Luxembourg – 3-1
Pyatov – Karavayev, Krivtsov, Matviyenko, Mykolenko – Stepanenko, Malinovskiy – Konoplyanka, Zinchenko, Tsygankov – Yaremchuk
Manager: Andriy Shevchenko
Moris – Jans, Selimovi, Gerson, Carlson – O. Thill, Martins, Barreiro, V. Thill – Bensi, Rodrigues
Manager: Luc Holtz
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