With nothing being up for grabs, Ukraine and Cyprus finished their campaign last night in the AEK Arena, with the home side beating Cyprus with two goals to nil by a Bohdanov brace.

With Cyprus making 7 changes, Chrysis Michael decided to give most of his players gametime as there were 7 different players to the previous match. The shape however, was the same, keeping that defensive mindset and giving the ball to the opponent. A lot of players in the Cypriot third meant that a lot of Ukrainians would be very high up the pitch, and that was imminent as Ukraine constantly has 6 players in the opposing half, counter pressing and looking for ways to score.

Ukraine’s strong side throughout the evening was the left side, with LB Strilchuk and winger Bondar, the constant overlapping caused problems but nothing serious in the opening stages. For half an hour, Cyprus managed to hold Ukraine away as Psilogenis in the center of the park was having a really good game. After 30 minutes, from a Ukranian goal kick, Cyprus’ press failed as a long ball from the CB found the Cypriot defense asleep, and Bohdanov easily chipped Panagi to make it 1-0.

As soon as Ukraine took the lead, Chrysis Michael switched his 5-2-3 to a 4-4-2 with Vassiliou drifting in a wing role and Polichroniou covering on the LB spot. Cyprus found more freedom to their game and Vassiliou came close twice in the closing moments of the 1st half, but the score remained.

With no subs being made on the break, the offensive approach of Cyprus remained the same. The formation was switched to a 5-2-3 again and Christodoulou was tasked with finding Evangelou with diagonal balls. With 46’ on the clock, Vassiliou was injured by a collision and was stretched off momentarily. Christodoulou became a make-shift LB and was penalized for a foul in the box, giving Ukraine the chance to make it two from the spot.

After the goal not much happened, the game was finished there with less than 50’ on the clock, as the players of both sides took the foot of the pedal.

With Czech Republic’s two late goals against Serbia in the second match of the group, the Czechs managed to top Group A, with 9 points leaving Serbia second with 6, Ukraine 3rd with 3 and the hosts on the competition Cyprus on bottom with 0.

The efforts of the Cypriot team should be acknowledged, but this tournament was another point on how far our infostructure and football is from the standard. The standouts for this run of the Cypriot National team were Evangelou, Hatzilefteri and Petoussis, as we saw a team weak and with minimal direction.

We applaud the effort and the support but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough.