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November 15, 2013
• 2:45 PM
• NSK Olimpijs'kyj, Kyiv (Kiev)
Referee: C. Çakιr
• Attendance: 67732
R. Zozulya 61'
A. Yarmolenko 83'
A stunning night in all senses. Two red cards, two well taken goals. And a lot of tension besides. France need two or more in Paris, join us again for that second leg in the final round of qualifiers.
FT: UKR 2-0 FRA - what a night for Ukraine! The biggest scalp of World Cup 2014 has happened seven months before it even gets going! A wonderful result for Ukraine over a French side who cannot overcome controversy once more.
90' + 6'
FULL-TIME: UKRAINE 2-0 FRANCE.
90' + 5'
Yellow/Red Olexandr Kucher
90' + 5'
Free-kick for France. Benzema to take, but it's deflected up and over the wall. Corner, and a very last chance. We're into the sixth minute of injury time.
90' + 4'
RED CARD - KUCHER! The full-back is booked for the second time in stoppage time, and this'll be a blow for Ukraine. Another needless foul, and this is boiling over.
90' + 2'
90' + 2'
We're into the second of THREE additional minutes at the Olympic Stadium. France have capitulated, and Didier Deschamps looks like a fallen man.
90' + 1'
Yellow Card Olexandr Kucher
90' + 1'
Red Card Laurent Koscielny
90' + 1'
YELLOW CARD - Olexandr Kucher is booked for his part in that brief melee.
RED CARD - LAURENT KOSCIELNY! It goes from bad to worse for France here! Koscielny needlessly hits out at Kucher and is sent from the field!
WHAT A CHANCE! Ukraine could make this 3-0. They get France on the counter, but a lazy pass from Yarmolenko and it' over.
Late drama expected? Ribery working tirelessly here to ensure that his side at least get something from this game. Ribery's delivery in turned behind by Pyatov.
SUBSTITUTE - UKRAINE: Ukraine hero Roman Zozulya comes off for Yevhen Seleznyov.
Safe to say that France need two or more goals in Paris to resuscitate this tie. The last time Ukraine conceded two or more was the 2-0 defeat.........v France at Euro 2012 - a whopping 17 matches ago.
Bezus ploughs forward in the France penalty box dribbling past his marker before stumbling on the ball and being cleared away by Paul Pogba.
Evra takes a tumble in the penalty box, and he is livid! He wants a penalty off of the referee, Cuneyt Cakir, who waves play on. What a tense ending here.
What a storyline emerging here in Kiev. Ukraine have a 2-0 lead, and look good value to maintain that in Saint-Denis. France need a goal. Or their World Cup hopes are over.
Penalty Goal Andriy Yarmolenko
GOAL! UKRAINE 2-0 FRANCE!!! France's hopes are fading! What a penalty from Andriy Yarmolenko who powers his pen off the crossbar and in. Took a deflection off Lloris' hand, but what a lead!
PENALTY TO UKRAINE
SUBSTITUTION - France: Last roll of the dice by Deschamps. Samir Nasri replaced by Mathieu Valbuena.
CHANCE FOR FRANCE! Ribery with the effort, but under pressure, it is hurried and poorly hit - easy save for Pyatov, and an eruption of joy from the fans behind the goal.
Yellow Card Moussa Sissoko
SUBSTITUTION - Ukraine: Edmar, who provided the assist for Zozulya's cross, goes off in favour of Roman Bezus - who has appeared as a substitute in each of the last eight competitive games.
YELLOW CARD - Moussa Sissoko: The Newcastle midfielder becomes the fourth man, and second Frenchman in the book.
PENALTY?! NO! Zozulya goes down under the challenge of Eric Abidal after a long ball catches France out. Zozulya is furious, as are the 65,000 inside the Olympic Stadium. Strong call for Cuneyt Cakir to make.
Four years ago, France went into their World Cup play-off against Ireland in Dublin - winning 1-0 thanks to Nicolas Anelka's sole effort before drawing 1-1 at home. Ukraine meanwhile, haven't conceded in seven.
Corner to France as Fedetskiy manages to block off the Bayern Munich winger. It's all been France since Zozulya's opener as much of the play is situated in the Ukraine half now.
Yellow Card Artem Fedetskiy
SUBSTITUTION - FRANCE: Karim Benzema on for Olivier Giroud. France going broke for this away goal cushion here.
YELLOW CARD - Fedetskiy: The third booking of the game, and the first for a player that has fallen foul of the shadow of suspension. He'll miss Tuesday's return in Saint-Denis.
SUBSTITUTION - FRANCE: Loic Remy comes off for Newcastle team-mate Moussa Sissoko.
France have a corner here after Nasri's free-kick towards Evra is well blocked by Fedetskiy. They will really need to make this count.
Matuidi attacks forward, unperturbed by that setback but Ribery is upended by Ruslan Rotan. France play the free-kick short, but they are still kept at arm's length.
NASRI!! That was the chance for France. It opened up for them easily on a counter attack. Ribery involved, towards Giroud who brilliantly held play to pick out the Man City winger on the far side, but his shot is straight at Pyatov.
Didier Deschamps watches on with a frustrated look on his face, alongside assistant Guy Stephan. They have offered little, but a goal here would do them a world of good.
And Ukraine can go for a second here! Konoplyanka bursts forward and crosses for Zozulya who this time, despite getting the better of Koscielny, sees his shot blocked.
France behind, and the Olympic Stadium erupts. Fantastic pass from Edmar who coolly picks off Zozulya, and he literally just barges Koscielny out of the way and get the ball in. Cue euphoria!
Goal Roman Zozulya
GOAL! UKRAINE 1-0 FRANCE!! FINALLY! The breakthrough comes in the form of Roman Zozulya who ploughs forward past Koscielny and squeezes the ball past Hugo Lloris.
And another barrage of boos from the partisan home crowd as Cuneyt Cakir whistles against the hosts. France advance as Matuidi drives a ball in, but it evades everyone ever so slightly and out for a goal-kick.
Frustration settling in from both sides as Pogba dives to get a free-kick from Edmar. Little contact if any, after brilliantly dribbling his way past. Play goes on though.
KONOPLYANKA! Gets into a pocket of space before flashing a powerful attempt goal bound. Easy for Lloris in the France goal, although he needs to pat that down first.
Great strength from Pogba as France advance forward. Meanwhile Remy beats the offside trap but cannot get a meaningful connection on the lofte ball. Another chance goes begging.
Nasri and Ribery combine on the left, and find Koscielny but a fantastic interception from Stepanenko ensures that Remy doesn't find his required target. Meanwhile, Abidal cuts apart Konoplyanka's long ball forward.
As like Giroud, his opposite number Zozulya isn't having the best of times at the other end. So disconnected from play and not being afforded the greatest service.
Free-kick to France in a decent position. About 30 metres out, and Nasri and Ribery over this one. Tense moments for the Ukrainians.
Great play from Fedetskiy who tussles off Ribery on the edge, before clearing behind for a corner. Committed play, but can France make this one count? No is the answer as Pyatov claims.
Ribery ploughs forward in search of Nasri, but there's no real support off the left with Evra remaining static. Nasri gives the ball away, but Pogba cleans up behind him.
Decent free-kick from Nasri. Delivered well into the centre of the penalty area and flicked on by Giroud. Good save by Pyatov.
Already a couple of niggles in the early stages of this second half. Giroud and Khacheridi both down after tussling for an aerial ball. Both seem to be fine though.
UNDERWAY IN THE SECOND HALF! No changes have occurred, as Ukraine get us going, attacking from left to right.
The sides are out for the second half, led by referee Cuneyt Cakir. Can Ukraine make their dominance count? It's an important second half.
HALF-TIME: UKR 0-0 FRA - it's been a tense first half at the Olympic Stadium, with tensions beginning to boil over as Ribery angrily squares up to Edmar. The hosts have dominated a fair share of the first period, with Yarmolenko and Konoplyanka spurning great chances.
45' + 1'
Yellow Card Olivier Giroud
45' + 1'
HALF-TIME: Ukraine 0-0 France
Into the first of one additional minute here in Kiev.
YELLOW CARD - Olivier Giroud; The French forward is booked after a strong challenge on Kucher. He's had a frustrating period so far. But he doesn't miss the second leg, as of yet.
Eric Abidal barges Yarmolenko heavily, allowing Ukraine a free-kick. Poor delivery, and intercepted by Ribery who sprints away at the first time of asking. Yarmolenko equally brilliant - as he tracks back along with Fedetskiy to close out the French winger.
Matuidi tracks back to dispossess Yarmolenko and curtail the hosts' attacking venture. France though have failed to offer something meaningful at the other end.
Free-kick to Ukraine on the left. Rotan up for this one, but headed away by Giroud who is all the way back in his own penalty box. Ribery wins a free-kick off of Khacheridi.
KONOPLYANKA! What a chance for Ukraine! Edmar gives Matuidi the slip and finds Yarmolenko on the right. Another cross that France fail to deal with, and his delivery eventually finds the Dnipro winger, whose strike is heroically blocked behind by Mathieu Debuchy.
Abidal positions himself well and intercepts the long ball. Giroud challenges Khacheridi who wants a free-kick for his troubles. Play goes on.
Yellow Card Vyacheslav Shevchuk
YELLOW CARD - Shevchuk: The first booking of the night after the left-back clatters into Remy. Remarkably, he is not one of the nine walking the disciplinary tight-rope.
Fine pass forward from Nasri towards Ribery but it is Khacheridi with the last-ditch interception to divert Ribery off of his run and get the ball safely towards Pyatov.
Worth noting here that because of FIFA's discplinary rule change, there are nine Ukrainian players and five French players on a booking. More than half of the players out there could miss the second leg in Paris.
Still a decent spell of pressure from the hosts, who continue to threaten and advance on the far side. Shevchuk plays the ball back in before Zozulya is reprimanded for a foul.
Half an hour gone, and it is Ukraine who are dominating here. Yarmolenko dribbles past Nasri, and delivers a cross in towards Konoplyanka, whose shot is charged.
EDMAR! Ukraine are beginning to knock on the door here. Fantastic burst forward from Rotan towards Edmar who diverts his header just wide of Lloris' right post. Warning for les Bleus.
Shevchuk makes a meal of the clearance. He dallies on the ball when he has clear time and space, before it is charged down by Remy. Rotan meanwhile with a terrible clearance forward aiming for Yarmolenko.
Still no breakthrough in Kiev as France and Ukraine cancel each other out at the Olympic Stadium. It's a cold night in the capital, as the French players amuse themselves on the touchline throwing blankets at each other. Light-hearted fun during a play-off!
ZOZULYA! Good chance for Ukraine - threatening delivery from the wing from Yarmolenko. Towards Zozulya, but it's Paul Pogba who is there to just nudge the header away.
Clash of heads between Zozulya and Eric Abidal, and both are on the floor here. What a collision! Meanwhile, Ukraine coach Fomenko gives instructions to Kucher during the break in play.
Evra once more nowhere to be seen as Matuidi tracks back and acts as a makeshift left-back, and stops Yarmolenko from rushing forward any more. Ribery wins a free-kick from Fedetskiy.
Giroud forward toward Ribery but the ball is too powerful for the Ballon D'Or contender to reach. Konoplyanka is upset after a defensive challenge, he feels he should have won a free-kick for that.
Debuchy swipes at Konoplyanka, but lucky doesn't concede a penalty. Shevchuk takes the rebound, headed away by Abidal before Eugene Khacheridi literally lumps the ball far over the stadium and away. Woeful.
Still no clear cut chance from either sides, as France and Ukraine battle over possession. Zozulya attempts to run down the middle, but he is well blocked off by Matuidi.
Fine pass from deep for Ribery to latch onto and he goes towards the edge of the by-line and towards Giroud, as Kucher tracks back to take the ball away. Fantastic pass to find Ribery from Nasri.
Good power from Pogba to dispossess Edmar and regain the ball, but the pass forward towards Ribery is poor, and cut out by Ukraine. The Juventus midfielder attempts to shoot, but it is well blocked.
Ukraine have so far posed a couple of questions, with Yarmolenko and Fedetskiy combining well on the left wing. Shevchuk wins a free-kick for a challenge by Remy.
Good challenge from Khacheridi to stop Ribery from advancing down the left wing. Ukraine back in numbers to avert the French charge forward. No real midfield presence though, as Khacheridi wins a free-kick off a challenge from Olivier Giroud.
Evra is struggling notably here so far, again being caught out of position, before clipping Fedetskiy. Not the best of openings for the Man Utd full-back.
YARMOLENKO! Great chance for Ukraine, as their dangerman has a shot well saved by Lloris. Again another good dribbling move off the wing, getting past Evra. But no real power on the strike.
GIROUD! Great movement from France as Ribery cannot get past Fedetskiy, and instead tees up Pogba, who finds Remy making a neat run. Cross drilled towards the Arsenal man, who gets his header goalbound, but tame enough for Pyatov.
Bit of a stop-start feel to this game, as Fedetskiy's cross from the right is swept up by Hugo Lloris. The France captain has returned after missing Tottenham's last game after suffering concussion against Everton.
Patrice Evra is too far up in the early stages, allowing Yarmolenko to burst down the right wing. His cross intended for Zozulya is cleared by Koscielny. Ukraine have three up front.
Yarmolenko is already down on the field here after a challenge from Patrice Evra. Play continues though, as Olivier Giroud latches onto a long pass from Laurent Koscielny, but Eugene Khacheridi clears the ball.
France having to contend with the tumultuous boos heading their way from the stands, as Nasri casually keeps the ball in his own half. They'll be happy with not conceding tonight.
UNDERWAY IN KIEV! Here we go in this crucial World Cup play-off. Just 180 minutes stand between these two and a place in the hat for the World Cup draw in Bahia next month. France get us started, attacking from left to right.
Undergoing pre-match formalities now, with the national anthems. First though, we have France's.
The sides are out onto the pitch at the Olympic Stadium, and there is close to a full-house here this evening. What an atmopshere! Kick-off imminent.
Atmosphere building inside the Olympic Stadium - which hosted the final of Euro 2012 a little more than 16 months ago. 10 minutes to go until kick-off. Tonight's referee is Turkey's Cuneyt Cakir.
France will be hoping to avoid the drama and controversy that marred their World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012 hopes. Patrice Evra starts after supplying a French TV show with some derogatory comments on such pundits. He has since avoided sanction from the French Football Federation, hence his involvement.
TEAM NEWS: France boss Didier Deschamps has taken a risk on Loic Remy, who makes his first start in World Cup qualifying. The forward has been pivotal for Newcastle this season, and features on the right in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Samir Nasri also comes in for Mathieu Valbuena as Mathieu Debuchy replaces Bacary Sagna. Olivier Giroud starts up front. For Ukraine, Roman Zozulya starts up front, flanked by the fearsome Andrey Yarmolenko and Eugene Konoplyanka.
UKRAINE: Pyatov; Fedetskyi, Khacheridi, Rakitskyi, Shevchuk; Tymoschuk, Rotan; Yarmolenko, Edmar, Konoplyanka; Zozulya
FRANCE: Lloris; Debuchy, Koscielny, Abidal, Evra; Matuidi, Pogba; Remy, Nasri, Ribéry; Giroud
CONFIRMED TEAM NEWS:
Nevertheless, both sides will be hoping to score tonight to gain an advantage ahead of the second leg at the Stade de France on Tuesday evening. Ukraine have scored 20 in the last six games, having not conceded in their last seven.
Ukraine have yet to beat France in a competitive fixture with Les Bleus unbeaten in seven. The last time these two faced off was at Euro 2012, as Jeremy Menez and Yohan Cabaye saw France weather the storm - literally - in a 2-0 victory. They also won 4-1 in Donetsk in a 2011 friendly.
Both sides enjoyed positive qualifying tournaments, even if they didn't achieve a direct ticket to Brazil. Ukraine finished a point behind England, winning six of ten games. France were bested only by the current world champions, having lost 1-0 at home to Spain in the decider in Paris.
Of course, both sides went through this stage four years ago for a place in South Africa. Ukraine failed against Greece, as France toppled the Republic of Ireland in what was, one of the most unsavoury incidents in World Cup history, if not in football.
Meanwhile, unsurprisingly, expectations run high for les Bleus. After three successive poor showings at major tournaments, there is pressure on Didier Deschamps and his side to perform - and without controversy - this time around.
I'm Mohammed Ali and I'll be guiding you through tonight's proceedings in what is a huge fixture for both sides. Ukraine are on the brink of what would be only their second World Cup after reaching the quarter-final in 2006 in their maiden appearance. Can Mykhaylo Fomenko's side to it again?
Good evening and welcome to live commentary of the FIFA World Cup play-off between Ukraine and France from the Olympic Stadium in Kiev. The road to Brazil reaches its final stages, and tonight, we really are at the business end. The first leg of the play-off pits the former world champions against the Eastern Europeans with a place at the World Cup at stake.
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