UEFA Regions’ Cup 2016/2017: Intermediary Round Group 1
Ingulee, Kirovograd Region (UKR): 3 (O. Bozhenko 20’, V. Horshchynskyi 62’, A. Sorokyn 90’ pen.)
Kryknin, M. Chaus, B. Kurup (A. Kovtunenko), O. Petruk, A. Sinchikov (A. Hlushchenko), D. Sohutovskyi, V. Horshchinskyi, M. Korchynskyi (Y. Mykolaiuk), A. Sorokyn, D. Vysochan, O. Bozhenko.
Gozo Region (MLT): 1 (A. Mizzi 10’)
Vella, M. Tabone, P. Taylor, J. Cefai, R. Buttigieg, D. Farrugia, J.P. Mizzi, G. Hili (J. Camilleri), D. Hili (O. Spiteri), M. Bezzina (C. Mercieca), A. Mizzi.
Gozo ended their commitments in the Intermediary Group 1 of the UEFA Regions’ Cup with a 1-3 defeat against Ingulee Kirovograd Region of Ukraine. The visitors were leading the group before this match with six points and needed just one point to be mathematically sure of winning the tournament and to qualify for the finals of this competition in June 2017. As it turned out the representatives from Ukraine could have become group winners even if they were defeated as the French team registered a 4-0 win over the regional team from Scotland. Thus, Ukraine won the group with maximum points from three matches, Ligue Paris Ile de France placed second with four points, East West Central Scotland ended in the third place with three points and the Gozitan team placed fourth with one point.
The match between the group winners and the hosts of the tournament was well contested for more than an hour of play but during the final stages the Ukrainian side administered their lead and made sure of the victory with a third goal that arrived in the stroke of regular time during a period when the Gozitans were playing with a player less on the field. Gozo tried to repeat the positive performance expressed in their previous match against the French representatives. They were well organized at their defense and also more adventurous in their play. Gozo scored and early goal but suffered Ingulee’s equalizer midway through the first half. The Gozitans tried to regain the lead and had a positive reaction after conceding Ingulee’s second goal. However, the Gozitans compromised the possibility to earn at least a point form this encounter ten minutes from the end of regular time when they had a player sent off for a foul away from the action.
Play was quite balanced during the opening. Ingulee seemed surprised by Gozo’s effective play in the midfield and were often erratic in their service to the three strikers Bozhenko, Horshchynskyi and Petruk. On 8 minutes Ingulee had their first serious attempt at goal through Maksym Korchynskyi that was blocked by the defense. Gozo’s were also dangerous in their breaks and opened the score on 10 minutes when Rodney Buttigieg entered the area from the right flank and from his low pass Andrew Mizzi netted with a shot towards the far post. Gozo gained confidence and on 20 minutes they were dangerous through a shot by Rodney Buttigieg that was blocked by the defense. Ingulee produced a fast counter break from the same action where Oleksandr Bozhenko entered Gozo’s territory, passed around the goalkeeper and scored the equalizer with a shot from an angled position. Play continued to be quite balanced and on 27 minutes Ingulee’s goalie Ivan Kryknin left his position in time to take the ball at the edge of the area following a through pass by Phill Taylor aimed to Rodney Buttigieg. Four minutes later Gozo’s defense cleared badly a free kick by Sorokyn but Korchynskyi’s attempt ended wide. On 35 minutes Ingulee were again dangerous through a shot by Sinchikov that missed the target and four minutes later it was Petruk who tried a shot from outside the area that ended away from Gozo’s goal. Ingulee tried to increase their efforts during the final stages of the first half and on 41 minutes a free kick by Korchnskyi was neutralized by goalie Franklin Vella. Two minutes later Gozo’s keeper was well placed to save an attempt by Sinchikov and on the stroke of regular time before the break a good shot by Bozhenko was deflected to a corner by the defense.
After the break Gozo managed to retain a well organized defense but found it difficult to operate danger actions within Ingulee’s territory. The visitors could have turned the result in their favour on 51 minutes when Bozhenko unmarked Petruk inside Gozo’s area but the latter hit badly and goalie Franklin Vella saved the danger without difficulty. The same Petruk once again lost a good scoring opportunity on 61 minutes when he concluded high from close distance after receiving an inviting pass from Bozhenko. However, Ingulee took the lead one minute later when substitute Mykolaiuk crossed from the right following a free kick by Bozhenko and Vladyslav Horshchynskyi placed in the upper corner of goal with a spectacular half volley. Gozo had an immediate reaction and on 63 minutes they could have leveled the score when substitute John Camilleri took the ball following some hesitation at Ingulee’s defense but the Gozitanstrike had his attempt that was stopped by the crossbar. Gozo tried to insist with their pressure on Ingulee’s defense but on 80 minutes they ended with a player less when Jean Paul Mizzi was sent off for a foul on Mykolaiuk away from the action. Ingulee tried to take advantage fo the extra player and one minute later they went very close scoring when an effort by Bozhenko hit Gozo’s woodwork and Gozo’s defender Owen Spiteri, who came on the field as a substitute, cleared the danger from the goalmouth. Three minutes later Gozo’s goalie Franklin Vella blocked in time a close ranged attempt by Chaus and defender Owen Spiteri may have handled the ball inside the area in an attempt to clear the danger. Ingulee sealed the victory with the third goal that arrived on 90 minutes when Gozo’s goalie Franklin Vella floored Bozhenko inside the area, the referee awarded a penalty and Andrii Sorokyn converted from the spot kick.
Referee: Georgi Vadachkoria (GEO)