Ukraine see off United States in Cyprus friendly

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 05, 2014 4:30 PM

LARNACA, Cyprus (Reuters) - Casting aside trouble at home, Ukraine comfortably beat the United States 2-0 on Wednesday in a friendly held in Cyprus against the backdrop of turmoil at home and tensions with Russia.

Andriy Yarmolenko opened the scoring after 12 minutes when Yevhen Konoplyanka drifted a beautiful ball over the defense for Denys Harmash to beat the offside trap.

U.S. keeper Tim Howard saved the one-on-one but the rebound came back to Harmash who calmly squared it to Yarmolenko who had the simple task of slotting it into the open goal.

Ukraine remained on the front foot and correctly had a goal disallowed seven minutes later when center-back Oleksandr Kucher squared the ball to Yarmolenko who again had the simple task of passing it into the net.

Ukraine's pressing was effective and the U.S. struggled to get near Andriy Pyatov's goal with Clint Dempsey's blocked shot being the closest Juergen Klinsmann's men came in the first 20 minutes.

Second-half substitute Marko Devic made a quick impact, doubling Ukraine's lead at the second attempt after Howard had saved the Rubin Kazan forward's first effort when put through on goal.

The game, scheduled to played in Kharkiv, was moved to the Mediterranean island due to the unstable political situation in Ukraine.

(Reporting by Peter Stevenson, Editing by Ed Osmond)