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Ukraine footballers get back to action in emotional return

Ukraine players line up with young mascots before the match against Borussia Monchengladbach. Photo: Reuters

Ukraine's national team were able to briefly turn their focus back to football last night when they beat Borussia Monchengladbach 2-1 in a friendly.

It was the first time they had played since Russia's invasion of their country in February and the match also acted as a useful warm-up clash for next month's World Cup qualifier with Scotland. Ukraine will also take on Stephen Kenny’s Republic of Ireland in home and away Nations League fixtures in June. 

Goals from Mykhaylo Mudryk and Oleksandr Pikhalyonok earned a narrow victory in Germany on an evening where the spirit of football shone through in the face of continued adversity in Ukraine.

Plans for the fixture at Borussia Park were revealed at the end of April and all the profits from the game will be donated to charitable causes for Ukrainian people.

In action for the first time since their 2-0 win away to Bosnia in November, Oleksandr Petrakov saw his team take the lead in the ninth minute through Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Mudryk.

Ukraine's Mykhailo Mudryk (left) in action against Borussia Monchengladbach's Conor Noss.

A crowd of 20,223 - with Ukraine nationals able to attend for free - watched the hosts respond instantly through Republic of Ireland youth international Conor Noss to ensure it was level at the break.

Substitute Pikhalyonok had the final say on proceedings and fittingly the 82nd-minute strike earned a victory for Ukraine in Germany.

A Borussia Monchengladbach statement read: "We're glad that we could help Ukraine with their preparations for the World Cup play-offs and would like to wish them all the best!"

Petrakov and his players face a trip to Italy next week to face Serie A outfit Empoli on May 17 after it was announced on Tuesday another friendly fixture had been arranged.

Back in March, Empoli goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario allowed a mother and her eight-year-old son from Ukraine into his home after they left their country due to the war.


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Dive Deeper:
Ukraine return to action with friendly win over Borussia Monchengladbach
Goals by Mykhaylo Mudryk and Oleksandr Pikhalyonok earned a 2-1 win at Borussia Park.
Ukraine play first match since Russian invasion with charity friendly win over Borussia Monchengladbach
Ukraine’s men’s national team returned to action for the first time since Russia’s invasion of their homeland with a 2-1…
Oleksandr Zinchenko's heartfelt gesture for 10-year-old boy who fled Ukraine war
The Manchester City full-back shared touching images of his wonderful gesture as he continues to call for peace in his…
Ireland to kick-off autumn campaign by hosting world champions South Africa
The Springboks are in the same pool as the Irish for next year’s World Cup in France
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Manchester United may already know how to bring the best out of Amad next season
Manchester United youngster Amad has struggled to earn opportunities since joining Rangers on loan back in January.
The biggest gap between derby rivals who once played in the same division
Plus: finishing seasons when rivals are nowhere near done, tiny crowds in giant grounds (2) and mysterious Brazilian jaunts
Get all your news in one place