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Ukraine edges North Macedonia 2-1 at Euro 2020

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-06-18 09:16
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Ukraine's Andriy Yarmolenko celebrates scoring their first goal during the match against North Macedonia in Bucharest, Romania, June 17, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

BUCHAREST -- Ukraine strikers Andriy Yarmolenko and Roman Yaremchuk made way for their national team to take the first win at Euro 2020 in Group C on Thursday in Bucharest.

In a fought-over match, the side of star coach Andriy Shevchenko secured a narrow 2-1 victory with the attackers scoring their second tournament goals.

Leeds United striker Ezgjan Alioski scored a penalty after 57 minutes for the major tournament debutants.

After a defeat in their opener, both teams piled on the pressure from the starting whistle in a do-or-die encounter.

31-year-old team captain Yarmolenko eased the tension for his side in the 29th minute, followed by Yaremchuk's contribution after 34 minutes.

The underdog unsuccessfully tried to turn things around in the second half following an offside goal of Goran Pandev in the first 45 minutes.

Northern Macedonia increased its efforts after a poor performance in the first half.

Ukraine keeps its hopes alive to reach the round of last 16 while North Macedonia faces an early group exit. "We have delivered a great fight against a tough team," Shevchenko said.

His counterpart Igor Angelovski said his team delivered another passionate game on eye level.

North Macedonia meets the Netherlands in its third and last group encounter next Monday; Ukraine is facing Austria.

In Bucharest, for the first time in the European Championships history, a referee from South America, Argentine Fernando Rapallini, supervised a game due to a collaboration project of the continental federations UEFA and CONMEBOL. 

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