After defeating Scotland at Hampden Park the Ukrainian team arrived in Cardiff City Stadium with the same spirit and the challenge of beating a hungry rival. They also achieved a patriotic feat, leading their country to the World Cup for 64 years.
Robert Page will be acting as interim coach for the principality team after Ryan Giggs was ousted as coach in 2012 amid sexual assault allegations. He had a plan to play with a more dense midfield than the Scotsman.
Although the Ukrainians did better in the first game, and had more chances to score, they didn't face a defence as strong as that of the Scottish. In the match between the two sides, the balls were contested without any clarity. Once again, the outsiders' goal-scoring hope was the strikers. James's speed was the greatest danger for the hosts.
The young Welsh player was signed by Manchester United and later sold to Leeds. He is fast, but clumsy in his decisions. It does not provoke fouls from rivals. In the 34th minute, one of them offered Gareth Bale a chance to play his part in recent years, as a complicated and lost man at Real Madrid and a happy statesman for his country's national soccer team.
He shot from a bad angle, a hardball that aspired at the far post. Yarmolenko, a Glasgow hero, took up the space at the first post. Bale tried to clear his ball by diving, but Yarmolenko was able to finish it off in the net. He was not penalized by Mateu Lahoz, the Spaniard referee. This would have been fair for the neutral stands.
Alexander Petrakov made adjustments in the second period due to the wet conditions. He wanted to keep the intensity of a team who applied effort against a rival, which took advantage of the opening to counterattack. Aaron Ramsey missed the penalty that ended the UEFA Cup final for Glasgow Rangers. He had a chance to score in the 46th minute.
Bale's volley in the 75th minutes hit the defense, but the real excitement was in the opposite area where the Ukrainians attempted to tie the match with complete dedication and disorder. Although they had many chances to score, Hennessey was a great goalkeeper throughout the match. Visitors became more anxious.
They fired horrendous shots in the final minutes of the match, after they had committed silly fouls. Petrakov was grateful for the behavior of the crowd at Hampden Park. But this time, he heard the Cardiff home crowd dedicated to his team, whistling each second of extra time. The joy of the Welsh people celebrating their national goal put an end to solidarity with the Ukrainians. They cheered and clapped in unison, but that was only for one day.
Wales will be among the most vulnerable European teams in Qatar. While there are some notable players, their most successful players of recent years, Bale and Ramsey, are now at the end their careers. It is unclear if they will have another team after the summer. Ex-real Madrid player says he doesn't worry about it. The trip to Qatar to see his national team in Qatar is likely to be a happy farewell for both of them.