The Yellow Men found the going tough against the Super Eagles and from the fourth minute to the 75th minute stared defeat in the face but two late goals rescued a draw for the hosts, following which Ukraine’s manager revealed his respect to the Nigeria side.
Coach Andriy Shevchenko has appealed to the fans of the Yellow Men to accept the 2-2 draw against the Super Eagles as a good result as Nigeria is no Lithuania. A few days ago, Ukraine travelled away to thrash Lithuania 3-1 in a Euro qualifier and more of the same was expected by the home fans when Nigeria arrived at the Dnipro Arena.
But debutant Joe Aribo gave the Super Eagles the perfect start four minutes in before Lille hotshot Victor Osimhen doubled the advantage from the penalty spot to shock the home fans.
Ukraine rallied in the second half and two goals in quick succession ensured that the Yellows avoided a humiliation in front of their supporters.
Shevchenko has wasted no time in telling critics that his team should be applauded as Nigeria, ranked 33 by FIFA, cannot be compared to Lithuania who are ranked almost 100 places below the West Africans.
“It is very difficult to find the ideal at all. The team is moving in the right direction. It is impossible to compare today’s match with the previous one against Lithuania,” Shevchenko told reporters after the game, Soccernet.ng can confirm.
“It is a completely different team made up of players who play in different championships. But today’s game was very important, we received a lot of valuable information.”
Ukraine are currently placed 25th on the FIFA/Coca Cola world ranking.