Rotten luck for Ukraine’s Rotan as injury rules him out

Published 11/10/2015, 1:35 AM EST
Ukraine’s Ruslan Rotan (L) and Artem Kravets (R) react after a missed chance as Spain’s goalkeeper David de Gea lies on the pitch during their Euro 2016 group C qualifying soccer match at the Olympic stadium in Kiev, Ukraine, October 12, 2015. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

KIEV(Reuters) – Influential midfielder Ruslan Rotan will miss both legs of Ukraine’s Euro 2016 playoff against Slovenia with a hamstring problem.

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Ukraine’s vice-captain sustained the injury in Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk’s 3-0 defeat at Europa League Group G rivals St Etienne on Thursday.

Coach Mykhailo Fomenko has to fill two gaps in midfield for Saturday’s first leg in Lviv because Shakhtar Donetsk’s Taras Stepanenko is sidelined through suspension.

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Full back Oleksandr Kucher is also banned for Saturday’s game but goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov is hoping he can shrug off an ankle injury in time to play.

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“There’s not much to be cheerful about,” coach Mykhaylo Fomenko told reporters on Monday.

Ukraine have yet to beat Slovenia in four previous meetings, drawing twice and losing twice.

They also lost out to Slovenia in the Euro 2000 playoffs.

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The second leg takes place on Nov. 17. The winners go through to next year’s finals in France.

(Writing by Igor Nitsak; Editing by Tony Jimenez)

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Dhruv George

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Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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