World Cup: Ukraine take 2-0 first-leg lead in play-off clash with France
Ukraine are in control of their World Cup qualification hopes after beating France 2-0 in their first leg play-off tie.
Last Updated: 15/11/13 10:33pm
Roman Zozulya's second-half strike put Ukraine firmly in control of their World Cup qualification hopes as they went on to beat France 2-0 in their first leg play-off tie on Friday night.
Zozulya struck in the 61st minute before Andriy Yarmolenko's penalty left the 1998 World Cup winners and 2006 finalists firmly on the back foot ahead of the second leg in France next Tuesday.
France defender Laurent Koscielny had a second half to forget as he not only conceded the 83rd-minute penalty but was shown a red card in stoppage time, with Ukraine defender Olexander Kucher following soon after for his second bookable offence.
In a team dripping with talent, France were expected to bring to an end Ukraine's seven-game run of successive clean sheets while moving one step closer to next year's World Cup finals in Brazil.
However, it was Ukraine who claimed the advantage in Kiev leaving Didier Deschamps' men with little time to regroup ahead of the rematch.
Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud had tested Ukraine goalkeeper Andrei Pyatov with a header, only for the stopper to make a comfortable save, before Paul Pogba saw his 30-yard effort blocked by Artem Fedetskiy.
Other than that, chances were few and far between in the first half until Yevhen Konoplyanka forced a block from Eric Abidal in the 39th minute, with Patrice Evra clearing Ruslan Rotan's subsequent corner.
After the break, Franck Ribery saw his corner chance caught by Pyatov before he drilled a free-kick into the Ukraine wall from 25 yards out soon after.
At the other end, defender Fedetskiy fired a long range effort of his own over the bar before France keeper Hugo Lloris caught Yevhen Konoplyanka's 56th-minute effort.
Ukraine midfielder Edmar then served up the pass that would set up Zozulya for the only goal of the match.
The Brazilian-born Ukrainian set up Zozulya from the centre of the area, allowing the Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk striker to slot the ball past Lloris from 12 yards.
Zozulya had another chance denied two minutes later after an Abidal block as Ukraine looked to claim momentum.
Ribery remained a pest at the set piece, although Yevhen Khacheridi was able to clear his corner before Samir Nasri saw his 20-yard effort saved by Pyatov.
Ribery tried his luck from similar distance but he too was denied by Pyatov, before Koscielny put his header wide from another corner from the Bayern Munich midfielder in the 80th minute.
Things then went from bad to worse for Arsenal defender Koscielny when he conceded a penalty for a foul on Zozulya, with Yarmolenko stepping up to blast the ball past Lloris and claim a two-goal advantage.
The game was shortly over for the France defender when he was shown a red card in the 90th minute for needlessly hitting out at Kucher.
Kucher was sent off himself in the fifth minute of stoppage time for his second yellow card offence for a challenge on Ribery.
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|4||Shots on Target||6|
|4||Shots off Target||3|
|45.1||1st Half Poss.||54.9|
|35.7||2nd Half Poss.||64.3|