Ukraine defeated Malta 1-0 in a tense game
On Monday, June 19th, the Ukrainian national team played a home match against Malta as part of the qualifying rounds for the 2024 European Championship. For the Ukrainians, this game was technically a home match, although they couldn't play in Ukraine. They hosted the Maltese team in the Slovak city of Trnava at the Anton Malatinský Stadium. The match against the underdog of Group C ended with a score of 1-0 in favor of the Ukrainian national team.
The game started with pressure from the Ukrainian team. As early as the third minute, the "blue and yellow" team had a chance to score, but the Maltese goalkeeper made a brilliant save. The game became more balanced after 15 minutes, and Malta had a few opportunities, including several corners in the first half. Towards the end of the first half, the Maltese goalkeeper got injured after a collision with a Ukrainian forward and had to be substituted.
In the second half, the Ukrainians went on the attack from the beginning, and within five minutes of the restart, they were awarded a penalty. However, the captain of the Ukrainian national team, Andriy Yarmolenko, failed to convert it, hitting the crossbar. The Ukrainians continued to press on the Maltese goal, and in the 70th minute, they earned another penalty. This time it was successfully converted by Viktor Tsyhankov. Until the end of the match, the Ukrainian team had a few half-chances but couldn't score again, so the final score remained unchanged.
After the match, the Ukrainian national team is currently in second place in Group C of the Euro 2024 qualifiers, with 6 points from three games. Italy, who have 3 points from two games, emerged as the main contender for the second spot alongside Ukraine. The group is dominated by England, who won all four of their matches with a goal difference of +14.
The next matches in the Euro 2024 qualifiers will see the Ukrainian national team play against England at home (technically) on September 9th and against Italy away on September 12th. The results of these matches will essentially determine the fate of the Ukrainian national team in the qualification for Euro 2024, with a minimum of 4 points from these two matches being an acceptable outcome. After these fixtures, Ukraine will have three more matches in the autumn of 2023, including games against North Macedonia and Malta in October, and a home match against Italy on November 20th.