Having lost their opening group games against Poland and Germany respectively, Ireland and Ukraine locked horn in a must win game on thursday evening and it turned out to be quite a match with Ireland scoring their first goal in major tournament in 30 years. After the 0-0 in first half, game came to life when Gareth McAuley scored in 49th minute to send Irish crowd buzzing. It took 5th minute in injury time for Ireland to seal the win when Niall McGinn scores to make it 2-0 finish the game off.
Northern Ireland 1-0 Ukraine
[UEFA European Champions 2016, Thursday, 16th June ]
49′ 0 – 1 Gareth McAuley scores just after the halftime break to put Northern Ireland 1-0 up.
90′ 0 – 2 Niall McGinn scores with almost the last kick of the match when a ball rebounded of keeper in his path.
Both Ukraine and N.Ireland lost their opening games which makes this fixture a must win for both, A win here for Ukraine can put them in good position by the time they take on Poland late next week while Ireland will be playing Germany in their last group game. Looking at the historic head to head, Ireland and Ukraine has played 4 competitive matches and Ireland has never beaten Ukraine at the international stage.
Team News & Lineups: Michael O’Neill is set to make couple of changes after their defeat against Poland. We might see the likes of Jamie Ward and Conor Washington drafted into the starting lineup alongside top scorer Kyle Lafferty to put some creativity upfront. Ukraine on the other hand are most likely to keep the team which took the field against Germany.
This is how I expect both teams to lineup on thursday.
Match Predictions: Northern Ireland were outplayed by Poland in their opening game and severe lack of attacking options made them suffer throughout the game. Now This one is a must win game and I do expect a proper competitive game both teams giving it a go. Unlike the first round group games, teams now have to come out and try to win matches and that is the kind of scenario both of these teams face. I am going with a 2-1 surprise win for Norther Ireland here.