Just when it seemed Manchester City were not serious for signing a relatively unknown 19-year-old Oleksandr Zinchenko in the summer of 2016 for a meagre £1.7 million, the versatile left-sided player has continued to prove doubters wrong.
He was at the heart of Ukraine’s come-back on Tuesday night, with his attacking moves causing all sorts of problems for the Super Eagles backline. His goal was superb too, finding space in the 18-yard area and leaving goalkeeper Francis Uzoho for dead with a powerful shot.
Zinchenko has established himself as first-choice left-back at the Etihad Stadium, and with Ukraine suffering just one defeat in their last 17 matches, and also looking poised to make it to Euro 2020, we can expect a lot more brilliant outings from the 22-year-old.
It seemed like it was a new lease of life for the Super Eagles when they raced to a 2-0 lead in Dnipro. So good was their first-half performance, there was that confidence they will see out the game, with Ukraine at sixes and sevens in the opening period. It turned out to be the reverse in the second half, with Andriy Shevchenko’s side netting two quick-fire goals that could have been avoided had the Nigerian backline done better.
It continues the trend of the West Africans not able to hold on to a lead, but rather find their strength and energy when falling from behind. This could cost Nigeria valuable results in future even as there were lots of positives to take from this clash. Coach Gernot Rohr also needs to utilise his substitutions better.