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Ukraine returns to football field since Russia’s invasion; beats German club in a friendly tie

By wasmulhaq 
Updated Date

The war-torn country, Ukraine, has nothing to lose at the moment. The Russians’ persistent attack destroyed most of Ukraine’s major cities.The killing of civilians and rape of women on a mass scale can frighten anyone. The atrocities of the Russians are continuing. When will Putin stop this war? The entire world wants to know.

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One piece of good news for the people of Ukraine has come from the soccer field. The Ukrainian men’s national team returned to the football field for the first time since the invasion of Russia on Wednesday, defeating German club Borussia Mnchengladbach 2-1 in a charity fundraiser.

The friendly encounter was a chance for the Ukrainians to get a chance to prepare for the World Cup qualifying games against Scotland next month. Ukraine’s players need courage to perform splendidly despite losing everything in the ongoing war.

“We thank you all for your great help,” former world heavyweight boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko, whose brother Vitali is mayor of Kyiv, said in a video message to the German club and fans. He added that it felt as if “both (teams) were playing for us.”

The squad for the unusual club-versus-country friendly was assembled from Ukrainian clubs whose league seasons were frozen on February 24, the morning Russian troops invaded.

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The government of Ukraine has decided not to allow youngsters to leave the country during the war so that they can be called to the war front if required. Footballers needed special permission to travel abroad.

“I had tears in my eyes,” said Coach Oleksandr Petrakov when the Ukrainian anthem was sung before the game.

“Thank you to the Ukrainians who came and supported us,” he said, “and thank you to the Germans.”

Petrakov said he had spent the early stages of the war in his apartment in the capital, Kyiv. At that time, when Russian forces were closing on the city, “you sat in the apartment and you didn’t know where a projectile was going to land,” he said.

“I don’t wish for anyone to go through that.”

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The match was watched by 20,000 spectators, many of whom were given free tickets. They were behind their team and erupted when winger Mykhailo Mudryk sent the ball into the net in the ninth minute to give Ukraine the lead. Oleksandr Pikhalonok scored the winning goal of the match for Ukraine in the 82nd minute with a low shot from just outside the box.

Ukraine, playing for the first time since beating Bosnia-Herzegovina 2-0 on November 16. Petrakov said he was pleased with the performance after such a long time without playing, but the team still needed to work on its mistakes.

Ukraine has a chance to play in the football World Cup this year, to be held in Qatar. It has to first beat Scotland in the playoff in Glasgow on June 1. After that, its next opponent will be Wales, four days later in Cardiff. Victory in these two matches will certainly confirm Ukraine’s ticket to the football World Cup.

Some of the leading Ukrainian players are expected to join the team in the upcoming World Cup, including Manchester City left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko, West Ham forward Andriy Yarmolenko and Benfica striker Roman Yaremchuk.



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