Ukraine secured a historic 1-0 victory against Spain in the UEFA Nations League earlier today as a second-half strike from Viktor Tsyhankov stunned Luis Enrique and his men in Kyiv. Spain dominated large periods of the game but Ukraine's potency on the counter gave the home side a memorable victory.
The 1-0 scoreline represents Ukraine's first-ever victory against Spain in an official fixture. Andriy Shevchenko's side showed plenty of grit and character and are now level with Germany on points in Group 4 of the UEFA Nations League table.
Ukraine shock Spain with second-half goal and make history
Spain predictably dominated the ball in the opening stages of the game and fashioned a few chances as Rodrigo and Ansu Fati looked threatening in the final third. Sergio Ramos forced Ukrainian shot-stopper Heorhiy Bushchan into an excellent save with a free-kick in the 20th minute.
Spain had over three-quarters of the possession in the first half but were not able to find the back of the net in the first half. Ukraine set up a deep defensive block and deprived the Spaniards of space in the final third.
Ukraine approached the game with a renewed sense of purpose in the second half and created several chances as Spain left plenty of space in their own half. The likes of Yarmalenko and Yaremchuk looked threatening for Ukraine but failed to find the final pass in the final third.
The introduction of Dani Ceballos and Ferran Torres gave Spain an element of control in the midfield but Ukraine's Bushchan continued to stand tall and denied Oyarzabal and Torres with exceptional saves. Ukraine's persistent counter-attacks finally bore fruit as Yarmalenko and Tsyhankov took full toll of a positional error by De Gea to score the opening goal.
Spain continued to push forward in search of an equaliser as Adama Traore drilled several crosses into the penalty area. Ukraine stood firm in defence of their lead, however, and managed the game well to secure one of the most surprising and important results in this year's edition of the UEFA Nations League.
Ukraine Player Ratings
Heorhiy Bushchan - 8.5/10
Heorhiy Bushchan was Ukraine's saviour today and pulled off excellent saves from Ansu Fati and Sergio Ramos in the first half. The Dynamo Kyiv shot-stopper was monumental towards the end of the game and pulled off stunning saves from Spain's forwards to keep his side in the game.
Illia Zabarnyi - 7/10
Zabarnyi did have a few tense moments in the first half and was caught out of position on a couple of occasions. The defender grew into the game, however, and used his physicality to intercept several dangerous crosses from Spain's Adama Traore.
Vitaliy Mykolenko - 8/10
Vitaliy Mykolenko was a behemoth in Ukraine's defensive line and singlehandedly thwarted Spain's endeavours on a number of occasions. The imposing centre-back won his duels with both Rodrigo and Oyarzabal and had one of the best games of his career.
Oleksandr Karavaev- 7.5/10
Oleksandr Karavaev was particularly impressive against Ansu Fati in the first half and was wary of the youngster's pace and dribbling skills. Karavaev took up an attacking role in the second half and played an important role in many of Ukraine's counter-attacks.
Eduard Sobol - 6.5/10
Eduard Sobol had a torrid time against Adama Traore on the flank but often stepped up to impede the fiery Spain winger at crucial junctures of the game. Sobol was unable to match Traore for pace and was beaten on several occasions but made up for it with his positional awareness.
Yevhen Makarenko - 6.5/10
Yevhen Makarenko organised a shield in front of Ukraine's defence and attempted to thwart Spain's creative influences in the midfield. Makarenko persistently hounded the likes of Merino and Ceballos and won several headers in the penalty area.
Serhiy Sydorchuk - 6/10
Serhiy Sydorchuk did not see much of the ball in the first half but was an important cog in Ukraine's counter-attacking endeavours. The Dynamo Kyiv midfielder was replaced by Kovalenko in the second half.
Mykola Shaparenko - 6.5/10
Mykola Shaparenko did not have much of a role to play in the first half and cut an isolated figure as Spain dominated the ball. The midfielder saw much more of the ball as the game progressed and initiated a fair share of Ukraine's counter-attacks.
Oleksandr Zubkov - 6/10
Oleksandr Zubkov found himself in excellent positions on a few occasions but was unable to come up with the final product for Ukraine. The forward was taken off in the second half and will have to work on his efficiency in the final third.
Roman Yaremchuk - 6.5/10
Roman Yaremchuk offered Ukraine a counter-attacking outlet and did have a couple of runs at Sergio Ramos. The striker did not see much of the ball but his presence and movement gave Spain plenty to think about in their own half.
Andriy Yarmolenko - 8/10
Andriy Yarmolenko was one of Ukraine's chief threats against Spain and carved out an excellent chance for his side at the start of the second half. The West Ham United winger played an instrumental role in Ukraine's goal and was a thorn in Spain's side.
Viktor Tsyhankov - 8/10
Viktor Tsyhankov had the game of his life against Spain tonight. The forward came on in the second half and made an excellent diagonal run to latch on to Yarmolenko's pass. Tsyhankov gave an out-of-sorts De Gea no chance with his finish and scored one of the most notable goals in Ukraine's history.
Viktor Kovalenko - 6.5/10
Viktor Kovalenko was introduced in the second half to add an element on solidity to Ukraine's midfield. The Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder had a positive outing and made several crucial interceptions.