GB stunned by Ukraine
by Matt Phillips
Paralympics GB 1-7 Ukraine
London 2012 Seven-a-Side Football Competition
11.15am, Monday 3 September
Riverbank Arena, Olympic Park
Great Britain’s Cerebral Palsy side saw their London 2012 Paralympic medal hopes dashed by ruthless Ukraine.
The reigning World and Paralympic champions chalked up a stunning 7-1 victory over Lyndon Lynch's team to seal their place in the last four.
After a 3-0 loss to Brazil at the weekend, Paralympics GB knew it was a tough ask to take three points off the Ukrainians.
And any doubts that the Beijing 2008 Gold medallists might have had before kick-off were eliminated inside the opening 60 seconds when captain, Volodymyr Anotoniuk, burst through the home defence to slot a left foot shot past 'keeper Craig Connell.
A quick-fire brace from Anatolii Shevchyk put Ukraine 3-0 with less than 12 minutes played but the large crowd at the Riverbank Arena spurred on Paralympics GB and the hosts were unlucky not to pull a goal back immediately.
A great through ball from Martin Sinclair, brother of new Manchester City signing Scott, was seized upon by Alistair Patrick-Heselton and Ukraine keeper Igor Kosenko had to make a great block to prevent the deficit being cut.
Lynch's side poured forward in a desperate attempt to get back in the game but were left exposed at the back and Oleksandr Devlysh capitalised to make it 4-0.
But Paralympics GB kept pressing and Patrick-Heselton saw a free-kick blocked and hacked clear by the Ukrainian defence after he had been brought down following a fine run.
Moments later Michael Barker's turn and shot from 20 yards out was well saved by Kosenko.
Paralympics GB's hard work was finally rewarded five minutes after the break when second half sub Ibz Diallo sent a curling free-kick into the box that deceived everyone and found the back of the net.
That sparked wild celebrations at the Riverbank Arena erupted as the whole team celebrated in front of the Paralympics GB dugout.
But any hopes that the hosts had of getting back into the game where extinguished ten minutes later when Antoniuk scored his second of the match to make it 5-1.
An audacious back heel from Devlysh made it 6-1 and Denys Ponomaryov completed the rout to send Ukraine through to the semi-final stage.
Paralympics GB received a great ovation from the home fans at the end and the loss does not spell the end of the tournament for the 7-a-side team.
The final group stage game takes place on Wednesday, with a match against USA before the play-off classification games take place for sides who aren't in the medal clashes.
Parlympics GB will be hoping for victory over the Americans, a team they beat at the Paralympic World Cup in Manchester earlier this year, and will be targeting a top six finish for the tournament overall.