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  • November 17, 2010
  • • 19:15
  • • Stade de Genève, Carouge
  • Referee: S. Gumienny

Switzerland 2-2 Ukraine: Alexander Frei Double Strike Not Enough For Victory

Switzerland 2-2 Ukraine: Alexander Frei Double Strike Not Enough For Victory

Alexander Frei reminded everyone just why he will go down as one of Swiss football's greats but his brace was not enough to secure a win over Euro 2012 co-hosts Ukraine...

Switzerland and Ukraine played out a 2-2 draw in a repeat of their 2006 World Cup tie in Geneva, with that tournament's winning coach, Marcello Lippi, among the 11,100 in attendance. The former Inter, Juventus and Italy tactician is rumoured to be on the verge of becoming the new head coach for the Euro 2012 co-hosts.

Alexander Frei, who will shortly retire from international football, showed his country just what they will be missing with a wonderful free-kick on 40 minutes to open the scoring, which he curled around the wall and into the net via the crossbar. Messages in the stands thanked the veteran and urged him to re-think his decision, summing up the gigantic contribution the 41-goal striker has made.

Either side of the goal, the home side dominated with Andriy Pyatov making a string of fine saves. The Ukrainians offered little in terms of a goal-threat but they were in no mood to take prisoners as they took an ill-tempered approach out of keeping, which was anything but in the spirit of a friendly international.

It was to be a free-kick, which would lead to the Ukrainian equaliser three minutes into the second-half. Oleksandr Aliyev's set-piece deflected off the back of a team-mate and into the net, leaving Marco Woelfli stranded.

Frei restored the home side's lead on 62 minutes when he slid home Hakan Yakin's free-kick into the empty net with Pyatov caught out of position. However, the Ukrainians stunned the crowd when they hit back through a right-footed strike from distance by Yevhen Konoplyanka.

Frei then received a rapturous reception from the Swiss fans when he departed the field of play with fourteen minutes to go to be replaced by the next great hope of Swiss football, Wolfsburg striker Nassim Ben Khalifa, the star of his country's under-17 World Cup winning side in 2009.

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