Wed, Sep 16, 2009 - Page 20 News List

DEAFLYMPICS TAIPEI 2009: Ukraine wins Taipei soccer gold

BEST OF THE BEST Ukraine emerged the victors in the final match of the Taipei Deaflympics yesterday as they defeated Russia 3-2 to pick up their country’s 20th gold

By Dave Carroll  /  STAFF REPORTER

Ukrainian team members toss their coach in the air to celebrate their 3-2 victory over Russia in the men’s soccer final at the 2009 Taipei Deaflympics at the Taipei Municipal Stadium yesterday afternoon.

PHOTO: CNA

Ukraine won the battle of the top two nations in the Deaflympics medal table in the men’s soccer final at Taipei Municipal Stadium yesterday afternoon.

The team in yellow won a great contest 3-2 to pick up their 20th gold of the Games, a total only bettered by opponents Russia, who were prevented from adding to their 29 golds and had to settle for their 41st silver.

Germany claimed the bronze medal on Monday with a 4-0 victory over France.

Ukraine fashioned the first chance of yesterday’s match when Makar Bukin was fouled about 30m from the Russian goal. Oleksandr Chalenko hit a bullet free-kick that beat Russia keeper Dmitry Ivanov, hit the bar, bounced down onto the goal-line and out. If the assistant referee rather than the opposition had been Russian, it might have been given.

Four minutes later, another free-kick, this time on the right touchline, gave Russia their first chance. Pavel Istrashkin got to the cross ahead of the Ukraine defense, but his header flew wide.

Ukraine were on top in terms of possession and territory, but the opening goal came against the run of play. In the 30th minute, Nikolay Afanasyev picked up the ball on the left and went on a mazy run into the middle of the Ukraine defense, beating five men before dinking his shot over Ukraine keeper Dmytro Ukrayinets to score a memorable goal.

Five minutes later Ukraine were level, Ivanov spilled Bukin’s speculative shot from 25m and Volodymyr Riy pounced on the loose ball to poke home the easiest of chances.

Bukin should have put Ukraine in front in the 41st minute when played through with only the keeper to beat, but his tame shot was easily saved by Ivanov. Four minutes later, though, he made amends when he was again played in after some good work on the right by Myroslav Tanchyk, and this time Bukin made no mistake with the finish low in into the corner of the net to put Ukraine 2-1 up at halftime.

Russia came out for the second half looking to put pressure on the Ukraine defense, with Dmytro Puchkov having to make some good blocks and tackles to keep Afanasyev at bay. It was all Russian pressure, but the next goal came from a Ukraine break in the 61st minute.

Chalenko got the ball on the left, beat the defender and cut the ball back for substitute Vitaliy Solovey to sweep into the unguarded net.

In the 71st minute, Russia got themselves back in the game when Vladimir Ivanov’s free-kick from the right was headed in by Istrashkin to make it 3-2 with the best part of 20 minutes to play.

Afanasyev had a chance to equalize a minute later when he got free on the left of the penalty area, but his shot flew just wide of the far post.

Bukin had a chance to seal the win in the 81st minute when he met Myroslav Tanchyk’s cross from the right, but his header was saved by the keeper.

Russia were pressuring the Ukraine goal, and in the 84th minute Vladimir Ivanov had their best chance with a shot from the edge of the penalty area that was palmed away by Ukrayinets. From the resulting corner, Alexander Sedov’s shot flew over the bar and with it Russia’s chances of forcing extra-time.

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