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Rediff.com  » Sports » Ukraine too good for Saudis

Ukraine too good for Saudis

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June 20, 2006 00:01 IST

Ukraine revived their hopes of advancing to the World Cup's second round with a crushing 4-0 victory over Saudi Arabia in World Cup Group H on Monday.

Goals from Andriy Rusol and Serhiy Rebrov had given a fired-up Ukrainian side a deserved 2-0 lead before Andriy Shevchenko headed home from an inswinging free-kick just a minute after halftime.

Shevchenko set up midfielder Maksim Kalinichenko for the fourth in the 84th minute.

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The eastern Europeans dominated throughout, with coach Oleg Blokhin's change to a 3-5-2 formation after last week's 4-0 drubbing by Spain offering plenty of width to generate a series of crosses which troubled a nervous Saudi defence.

The Saudis showed promise going forward in patches, but created little by the way of clearcut scoring chances.

Victory puts Ukraine level on three points with Spain, who play Tunisia later on Monday. Tunisia and Saudi Arabia both have one point after an opening 2-2 draw.

SELF-RESPECT  

Determined to recover their self-respect after being outclassed by Spain, the Ukrainians played with energy and patience on a slippery pitch.

They had already gone close when centre-back Rusol burst on to a Kalinichenko corner to give them their first goal in a World Cup finals after just four minutes, kneeing home from close range.

Saudi keeper Mabrouk Zaid fell victim to the pitch in the 36th minute, slipping as he tried to block a dipping long-range drive from Rebrov which made it 2-0.

Shevchenko added the third within a minute of the restart, heading home another well-hit Kalinichenko centre to mark a return to form after a month blighted by injury.

Linking well with Andriy Voronin up front, the new Chelsea signing could also have scored when his header was cleared off the line by Ahmed Dokhi in the 13th minute before Rebrov blazed the rebound over the bar from six metres.

Patrick Graham
Source:
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