Ukraine 1 Tunisia 0: Shevchenko fools referee to put Tunisia out

As it was the Paraguayan referee, having missed a valid Tunisian claim for a penalty, gave a dubious one to Ukraine. Andriy Shevchenko anticipated Jaidi's attempted 69th-minute chest pass, ran on to the ball, then tripped over his own ankle. Chelsea's new £31m signing despatched the kick without remorse, putting Ukraine into the second round and ending the campaign of Tunisia goalkeeper Ali Boumnijel, born March 1966.

It was more than Ukraine deserved. Needing only a draw to progress they were jeered for playing for it after Tunisia were reduced to 10 men following Zied Jaziri's harsh 45th-minute dismissal. However, in Cologne on Monday they must do without defenders Andriy Rusol and Vyacheslav Sviderskiy after the referee gave both a second yellow card of the group stage.

If Jaziri's second yellow card of this game, for a misjudged but hardly dangerous tackle, was debatable his first, for a blatant dive, was not. In patches Tunisia have shown some quality, notably in leading Spain, but they have been moderate by the standards of this tournament. It increasingly seems the African breakthrough will come from the sub-Saharan countries rather than the Arab nations of the north despite the latter's better funded and organised leagues and more established international pedigree. Perhaps that is the problem. The footballers of nations such as Ghana and Ivory Coast have far greater European experience largely because they leave their own domestic game so early.

The match began with Jaidi making an attempted backflick on the edge of his box, Maksim Kalinichenko stole the ball but Karim Haggui rescued Jaidi. With the exception of a counter-attack that concluded in Boumnijel denying Kalinichenko, that was it for meaningful action until Jaziri's dismissal.

Ukraine subsequently sought to make a dull match terminally boring but their reluctance to seize the initiative encouraged Tunisia to play some bright football. This led to a 66th-minute free-kick by Anis Ayari that a defender, standing in the wall, deflected on to the roof of the net with his raised arm.

Incomprehensibly the referee gave a corner, but not a penalty. Three minutes later Jaidi made his error and Shevchencko, challenged by Boumnijel and Haggui, went down with ease.

Tunisia, who needed to win to qualify, were out. "I will never throw the first stone towards referees," said Roger Lemerre, the Tunisia coach. "They are on the field to do their job and there is no changing their decisions, but I must admit the bitterness among the players is huge."

Ukraine (4-4-2): Shovkovskiy (Dynamo Kiev); Gusev (Dynamo Kiev), Rusol (Dnipro D'petrovsk), Sviderskyi, Nesmachniy (both Dynamo Kiev); Rebrov (Dynamo Kiev), Tymoshchuk (Shakhtar Donetsk), Shelayev (Dnipro D'petrovsk), Kalinichencko (Spartak Moscow); Shevchenko (Chelsea), Voronin (Bayer Leverkusen).

Subsititutions used: Vorobey (Shakhtar Donetsk), for Rebrov, 54; Gusin (Krylya S. Samara) for Kalinichenko, 74; Milevskiy (Dynamo Kiev) for Shevchenko, 87.

Tunisia (4-4-2): Boumnijel (Club Africain); Trabelsi (Ajax), Jaidi (Bolton), Haggui (Strasbourg), Ayari (Samsunspor); Bouazizi (Kayserispor), Namouchi (Rangers), Mnari (Nuremberg), Nafti (Birmingham); Chedli (Nuremberg). Jaziri (Troyes).

Substitutions used: Ben Saada for Bouazizi, 79; Ghodhbane (Diyar-bakirspor) for Nafti, 90; Santos (Toulouse) for Chedli, 79.

Booked: Ukraine: Sviderskyi 17, Shelayev 46, Tymoshuk 61, Rusol 65. Tunisia: Jaziri 8, Bouazizi 43, Jaidi 88.

Sent off: Jaziri, 45.

Referee: C Amarilla (Paraguay).

Man of the match: Boumnijel.

Comments