Euro: Ukraine Fight Back to Defeat Slovakia 2-1

Ukraine made a stunning comeback to defeat Slovakia 2-1 and begin their Euro 2024 campaign on Friday. Roman Yaremchuk scored the game’s winning goal after coming off the bench.

Ivan Schranz gave Slovakia the lead at the 17th minute in their thrilling triumph over Belgium in their opening match. Slovakia knew that success in Duesseldorf would send them to the knockout round with a game to spare.

After losing to Romania 3-0 the last time out, Ukraine entered this game reeling. However, they fought hard and equalised with Mykola Shaparenko nine minutes after the interval.

Shaparenko, of Dynamo Kyiv, then turned provider for Yaremchuk to score the decisive goal as Ukraine joined Slovakia and Romania on three points in a wide-open Group E.

Romania play Belgium, who are bottom without a point, on Saturday in Frankfurt before the final round of matches next Wednesday.

Like they had before their first game against the Romanians, the Ukraine players emerged onto the sodden pitch in rainy Duesseldorf with Ukrainian flags draped over their shoulders.

They are present at the tournament amid the ongoing war in their homeland and it was impossible to avoid the political narrative to this match in particular.

Slovakia shares a border with Ukraine but the country’s populist Prime Minister Robert Fico -– who survived being shot in an assassination attempt last month -– is an opponent of military aid to the Ukrainians in its fight against the Russian invasion.

Last weekend Peter Pellegrini was sworn in as Slovakia’s new President after a campaign dominated by divisions over the war in Ukraine.

His predecessor, Zuzana Caputova, was a staunch Ukraine supporter, but Pellegrini is an ally of Fico and in favour of peace negotiations.

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Sydney Okafor

I am so passionate about this my profession as a broadcast journalist and voiceover artists and presently a reporter at TV360 Nigeria

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