World Cup - Red-faced France on brink after defeat to Ukraine

World Cup play-off first leg, Olimpiysky Stadium - Ukraine 2 (Zozulya 61, Yarmolenko 82 pen) France 0

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Ukraine v France - Konoplyanka and Debuchy (afp)

Ukraine took a giant stride to the World Cup finals in Brazil after goals from Roman Zozulya and Andriy Yarmolenko gave the home side a 2-0 victory over France in the opening leg.

A cagey first half saw few chances but Ukraine were the more hungry side after the break and a well-worked goal was followed by a late penalty as Laurent Koscielny pulled down Zozulya and Yarmolenko smashed home from the spot.

France then spectacularly unravelled late on as Koscielny received a straight red for slapping Oleksandr Kucher.

Moments earlier it seemed as if Ukraine had a certain penalty after Eric Abidal looked to have mistimed his challenge on Zozulya but referee Cüneyt Çakir waved away the home side’s protests.

But France failed to learn their lesson and having put his side in a precarious position, Koscielny spectacularly unravelled late on, receiving a straight red for slapping Oleksandr Kucher.

Despite the excellent Franck Ribery’s best efforts to pull his side back into the match, France now face an uphill battle to reach the World Cup in Brazil.

And although Kucher was then sent off in the final minute for a second bookable offence, Ukraine held out for a deserved victory.

The second leg takes place in Paris on November 19.

KEY MOMENTS

6’ – HALF CHANCE: Yarmolenko cuts inside onto his left boot and tests Lloris with a decent effort but the Spurs keeper gets down well to save.

28’ – CHANCE UKRAINE: It’s the first really good chance of the match as Rotan surges forward and delivers a telling cross onto the head of Edmar but he glances it wide.

31’ – CHANCE UKRAINE: More good play from Yarmolenko and he cuts it back to Konoplyanka but his shot is blocked in the France box.

38’ – CHANCE UKRAINE: Edmar finds Konoplyanka in space in the box again but he’s slightly off balance and his shot lacks power and is cleared again.

55’ – CHANCE FRANCE: A great ball over the top from Pogba finds Remy onside with just the keeper to beat but he can’t get his boot to the ball as it falls over his shoulder.

60’ – GOAL UKRAINE: The deadlock is broken by Zozulya as he slots home from Edmar’s neat pass. Lloris gets a hand on it but can’t keep it out.

62’ – CHANCE UKRAINE: It’s Zozulya again who chests and shoots but it’s a great block from Abidal at the near post.

64’ – CHANCE FRANCE: Giroud plays in Nasri on goal but he shoots straight at Pyatov.

75’ – PENALTY CLAIM: Abidal looks to have wrestled Zozulya to the ground but the referee waves it away.

81’ – PENALTY UKRAINE: Koscielny pulls down Zozulya and the referee points to the spot.

82’ – GOAL UKRAINE: Yarmolenko makes no mistake from the spot

90+1’ – RED CARD: Koscielny is sent off for slapping Kucher

90+4’ – RED CARD: Kucher is sent off for a second bookable offence

KEY STAT

Ukraine are now unbeaten in 12 matches and have kept 8 consecutive clean sheets.

TALKING POINT: Koscielny the villain. The France centre back not only conceded a penalty but will miss the second leg after his late moment of madness.

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND STATS

MAN OF THE MATCH

Andriy Yarmolenko (Ukraine): A constant menace going forward and capped a fine performance with a penalty.

PLAYER RATINGS

Ukraine: Pyatov 6; Fedetskyi 6, Khacheridi 7, Kucher 6, Shevchuk 6; Stepanenko 6, Rotan 7; Yarmolenko 8, Edmar 7, Konoplyanka 6; Zozulya 7. Subs: Bezus 6, Gusev 6, Seleznyov 6

France: Lloris 6, Debuchy 6, Koscielny 4, Abidal 5, Evra 5, Matuidi 6, Pogba 6, Remy 6, Nasri 6, Ribery 7, Giroud 6. Subs: Benzema 6, Sissoko 6, Valbuena 6

THE MATCH IN A TWEET

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