Ukraine hold World Cup finalists Netherlands

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Thu, Aug 12, 2010 05:19 hrs
Bert van Marwijk

Donetsk: An inexperienced Netherlands side were held to a 1-1 draw by Ukraine on Wednesday in their first outing since losing to Spain in last month's World Cup final.

Jeremain Lens put the Dutch in front in the 73rd minute of the international friendly after latching on to a rebound from Theo Janssen, who had smashed the woodwork with a powerful long-range shot.

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Ukrainian fans in the eastern city of Donetsk soon had something to cheer about when Olexandr Aliev turned a free kick into the top corner.

Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk chose to rest his top players for the match considered as a warm-up for the Euro 2012 qualifiers.

Defenders Jeffrey Bruma and Erik Pieters, midfielder Siem de Jong and striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel got a chance to impress the Dutch coach as they made their debuts.

"I think the result was right. We had many young players today who performed well. It was a learning night for me," Van Marwijk told reporters as he experimented with his line-up before the Netherlands begin their Euro 2012 Group E qualification away to San Marino on Sept 3.

Ukraine, who will co-host the Euro 2012 tournament with Poland, were more enterprising of the two sides in the first half but were unable to find the net. Andriy Shevchenko smacked the ball outside the net from the penalty area.

Ajax midfielder De Jong squandered a golden opportunity to put the Dutch in front in the 33rd minute when he failed to beat the keeper from close range following a bizarre aerial tackle from Ukraine's Anatoliy Tymoshchuk.

Both teams spiced things up after the break and the Netherlands broke the deadlock 17 minutes from time as Janssen hit the crossbar with a glorious shot and Lens pounced on the rebound to score the easiest of goals.

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It took only a minute for Ukraine to equalise when Aliev exquisitely curved in a drive into the top corner.

Ukraine coach Myron Markevic felt his men were caught out as they were not familiar with the played in the Dutch side.

"I expected a bit better performance of our team. We had too many passes back though I had asked my players to play forward as often as they can," he told reporters.

"I wish the Netherlands had brought the (players who finished as) World Cup runners-up to Ukraine. It could have been easier for us."

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