McAuley Strikes Historic Goal As Northern Ireland Beat Ukraine

McAuley Strikes Historic Goal As Northern Ireland Beat Ukraine

Gareth McAuley scored a historic goal to hand debutants Northern Ireland their first ever win in a European Championship game against Ukraine at the Stade des Lumieres in Lyon on Thursday.

Niall McGinn scored in stoppage time to hand the Irish side a 2-0 win in the game and lifeline going into the final game against Germany.

The win was their first in their last five meetings against Ukraine having drawn twice and lost twice and their first in a major tournament after beating Spain in the 1982 World Cup. 

The 36-year-old West Brom defender headed in Oliver Norwood's cross in the 49th minute of the game to become the second oldest goalscorer at the competition after Austria's Ivica Vastic who was 38 years and 257 days when he scored against Poland in 2008.

Zenith Ziva

Both teams began their Euro 2016 campaign with defeats to Germany and Poland respectively but it was the Irish team that started brilliantly with Stuart Dallas forcing a save from Andriy Pyatov in the fourth minute.

Ukraine also had their moments five minutes later when Serhiy Sydorchuk dispossed Norwood but his effort sailed wide away from goal.

Andriy Yarmolenko almost found Yevhen Seleznyov with an inswinging cross while Yaroslav Rakitskyi's 30 yards strike went straight into the hands of McGovern as the first half ended.

At the restart,Ukraine had a chance to restore parity through Seleznyov whose glancing header off a superb free kick was saved again by McGovern who claims the ball at the second attempt.

In the 58th minute, the match was stopped as fans hailed stones half the size of golf balls on to the pitch and the referee took the two teams off. 

With 15 minutes left to play Ukraine's coach Mykhaylo Fomenko made a double change with Roman Zozulya and Denis Garmash being introduced for Yevhen Seleznyov and Serhiy Sydorchuk. 

In between the alterations, Kovalenko dragged a 20-yard effort wide of the target, much to the relief of Michael McGovern in goal for Ireland.

The win sees Ireland move up third on the group C log and must get a point off World Champions Germany to stand a chance of advancing to the next round.



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