Nations League Report: Ukraine 1 – 1 Republic of Ireland

The Boys in Green earned a deserved and hard fought point in Poland after drawing 1-1 with Ukraine on Tuesday evening.

The performance merited a win particularly with the incredible individual first half goal scored by Nathan Collins.

However, Ireland got caught cold early in the second half with Artem Dovbyk grabbing the ‘home’ team the equaliser.

It was the end of a long season for Ireland and an even longer one for Ukraine who of course also have had to deal with the emotion of representing their country as war raged at home following the Russian invasion of their homeland.

After their four UEFA Nations League game of the summer, Ireland have four points and are in third in the table behind the two teams above them who both have a game in hand; Scotland sit second on six points while Ukraine are top with one more.

The Lodz stadium had been lit up by Collins’ goal just after the half hour mark. He stepped out into the Ukraine half to pick up a loose pass from Ukraine.

The 21-year-old Leixlip lad took the ball by three blue and yellow players before slotting the ball home with the outside of his right boot by Dmytro Riznyk. 

Ukraine got their equaliser two minutes into the second half. Dovbyk finished at the back post after Andriy Yarmolenko had picked up the ball breaking on the right and got a  low cross in by the Ireland skipper James McClean.

After the final whistle Stephen Kenny expressed his disappointment in not making it back-to-back wins but was happy with his team’s performance and that of goalscorer Nathan Collins who played all four games in this international window.

“I’m quite disappointed we didn’t win the game. The back three were brilliant tonight. They gave us a great platform,” said Stephen Kenny speaking to RTÉ after the game.

“It wasn’t a goal we should have conceded. Ukraine are a quality team with quality players.

"Nathan (Collins) has been really really good. His decision making is excellent. He was exceptional over the four games.”

 Ukraine: Dmytro Riznyk; Oleksandr Karavaev, Illia Zabarnyi, Mykola Matviyenko (Denys Popov 72),  Vitaliy Mykolenko; Ruslan Malinovskyi (Mykhailo Mudryk 28), Serhiy Sydorchuk, Oleksandr Zinchenko; Andriy Yarmolenko ©, Artem Dovbyk (Danylo Sikan 72), Mykola Shaparenko.
Subs not used: Andriy Lunin, Valeriy Bondar, Eduard Sobol, Viktor Tsygankov, Danylo Ihnatenko, Oleksandr Syrota. 
Booked: Illia Zabarnyi (49), Andriy Yarmolenko (51), Oleksandr Zinchenko (79). 

Republic of Ireland: Caoimhin Kelleher; Nathan Collins, Dara O'Shea, Darragh Lenihan; Alan Browne; Josh Cullen, Jayson Molumby (Jeff Hendrick 67), Jason Knight (Conor Hourihane 67), James McClean (c); Scott Hogan (Callum Robinson 57), Troy Parrott (Chiedozie Ogbene 80).
Subs not used: Max O'Leary, Mark Travers, Cyrus Christie, Enda Stevens, Chiedozie Ogbene, Ryan Manning, Will Keane, Callum Robinson, CJ Hamilton. 
Booked: Alan Browne (65) Darragh Lenihan (81). 

Referee: Ali Palabiyik (Turkey). 
Attendance: 10,641 Player of the Match: Nathan Collins (Republic of Ireland)