Ten-man England slip to defeat in Dnipro
Saturday, 10 October, 2009
Sergei Nazarenko's strike enough to give Ukraine victory.
Stuart Mawhinney in Dnipro
England suffered their first competitive defeat under Fabio Capello, with Ukraine seizing on an early red card for the unfortunate Rob Green and earning three points.
Green saw red as Ukraine won a penalty in the early stages, only for the seasoned performer Shevchenko to fluff his lines.
Nazarenko scored minutes later to put Ukraine in front, and despite a valiant effort from England in the closing stages it was the hosts that took the spoils.
Fabio Capello stuck with Robert Green in goal for England, making his sixth successive start for The Three Lions and there was a first competitive start in three years for Michael Carrick who came in for Gareth Barry at the heart of midfield.
The game started with a hail of flares from the Ukrainian fans towards Green in the England goal, and a stoppage ensued as stewards and firefighters tackled the offending missiles.
Aaron Lennon worked the first opening following as he found space inside the Ukraine area, only to see his lofted cross headed away by Oleksandr Kucher. From the resulting Gerrard corner Emile Heskey headed over the bar. John Terry then bounded forwarded and produced a terrific cross that Rooney narrowly failed to reach at the far post.
In a dramatic few minutes England were reduced to ten men when the Slovenian referee ruled that Rob Green was the last men when he upended Artem Milevyskyi. From the resulting penalty former Chelsea forward Andriy Shevchenko struck the foot of the post and England could breath again.
In the meantime, David James had replaced Lennon, and following the miss there ensued another barrage of missiles on the English penalty area.
The miss was a small reprieve as England faced the prospect of more than three quarters of the match with ten players, but the advantage would go to the hosts who were in desperate need of victory to aid their chances of securing the playoff spot.
60 seconds shy of the half hour mark and Ukraine took the lead with a deflected shot from Sergei Nazarenko. Then Wayne Rooney produced a magical turn and pass to feed Lampard inside the area, and though the Chelsea midfielder found a gap past Piatov the ball went narrowly past the post.
From the restart Milyevskyi hit a thumping left-foot volley that smacked the inside of the post and shot to safety.
Glen Johnson twice found a crossing angle on the right, both times found by the superb Rooney, but was unable to pick out anyone through the packed Ukraine defence.
England had chances to level the scores but in difficult circumstances they entered the interval trailing by a goal for the first time in this qualification campaign.
James Milner replaced Steven Gerrard at the break as England sought to regain a foothold in the match.
It was the home side who had the first meaningful effort on goal though, as marauding full-back Yaroslav Rakytskyy hit a fierce effort that forced a splendid one-handed save from David James.
Lampard then saw a chance slip from his grasp as he was played through by Rooney. Kucher came to smother the shooting chance and when Lampard tried to turn inside the ball was in Piatov's arms.
Lampard looked like he had earned a penalty, only for the referee to point to the very edge of the Ukraine area. From the free-kick Rooney played the ball short to Lampard whose effort was blocked. Johnson struck the follow up but was denied.
England pressed for an equaliser in the dying moments, but it was not meant to be and Ukraine will now have every chance of securing second place.