Ukraine vs Northern Ireland produced the most cynical foul you’ll see

Northern Ireland Women progressed to their first ever major tournament last night by beating Ukraine 2-0 in the second leg of their Euro 2022 play-off.

They went through 4-1 on aggregate, having already won 2-1 in the first leg in Ukraine.

It was an outstanding achievement by Kenny Shiels’ side – a team made up largely of amateur players.

And they had to do it without their star midfielder Rachel Furness. The Liverpool midfielder sustained a broken fibula in the first leg.

Marissa Callaghan put Northern Ireland 1-0 up in the first half in the second leg, which was to be enough for them to qualify as the clock ticked towards full-time. Despite that, they still went in search of more goals.

Ukraine defender Natiya Pantsulaya wasn’t about to let that happen, though, when Northern Ireland’s Sarah McFadden was played in by a through ball in the 86th minute

Pantsulaya comfortably got to the ball first. Then, however, she ran across towards the onrushing McFadden and elbowed her in the chest.

Needless to say, she was given a straight red card by the referee. It’s probably not a moment the defender will watch back with too much fondness.

We’ve got a lot of time for number 21 protesting her teammates innocence too.

People in the Twitter comments were quick to post their own favourite cynical fouls, including this *slightly* late challenge from Gary Breen on Darren Huckerby:

Northern Ireland would go on to score their second goal of the match, with Nadene Caldwell coolly rounding the ‘keeper before slotting the ball home in injury time.

Northern Ireland manager reacts to success

After the game, Northern Ireland manager Shiels called his side “the best achievers of all time”.

He said: “These are amateur players, 16 of the panel play in the Irish League for the likes of Glentoran, Linfield, Cliftonville and Crusaders.

“I am so grateful to the clubs but they are playing against players who play for the top teams in Europe.

“It is incredible what they have achieved, incredible. Unbelievable.

“I look at my staff and there are grown men crying and I am nearly in bits myself, but it is down to the girls at the end of the day.”

Featured Image Credit: BBC Sport