Ukraine crisis: Vitaliy Mykolenko and Oleksandr Zinchenko embrace as football shows support

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Oleksandr Zinchenko & Vitaliy Mykolenko
Oleksandr Zinchenko and Vitaliy Mykolenko (right) are both established Ukraine internationals

With their homeland Ukraine still under attack by Russia, Vitaliy Mykolenko and Oleksandr Zinchenko embraced prior to Saturday’s Premier League match between Everton and Manchester City.

The Ukrainian internationals spoke briefly and hugged with City defender, Zinchenko, who joined a vigil outside Manchester’s Central Library on Thursday evening, visibly upset.

Everton supporters held a banner with the words “We stand with Ukraine”, while the club’s players walked out with the Ukrainian flag draped over them.

The City players lined up for the match wearing t-shirts displaying the blue and yellow flag of Ukraine and the message “No war”.

With football continuing across Europe there were further shows of support for Ukraine from clubs, players and fans.

The Everton and Manchester City players line up at Goddison ParkThe Manchester City players at Goodison Park

On the support of the crowd for the messages portrayed by the players, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola said: “What a moment. Thank you so much for all the people. Zinchenko was very pleased. He was warming up. It means [a lot] what the people want to say.

“That is why thank you so much for reaction. It was so emotional.”

Everton boss Frank Lampard added: “The power of sport, we’ve seen in the last few days in many ways.

“I know how much heart is in this club from owner, to chairman, to fans, to players and we wanted to show that. We have a player with Vitaliy on our side and Zinchenko on their side, and our fans and their fans [came] together

“That is the unity of sport and a lot of people on the outside could learn from that as well.”

Fans at Goodison Park
Fans at Goodison Park show their support for Ukraine

Prior to Manchester United’s 0-0 draw against Watford, both teams plus managers stood in front of a banner at Old Trafford, which proclaimed the word “Peace” in numerous languages, including Russian and Ukrainian.

Interim United manager Ralf Rangnick had proposed the idea and it was embraced by both sets of players and clubs.

Manchester United and Watford players

Matty Cash celebrated scoring the opening goal in Aston Villa’s 2-0 win at Brighton by unveiling a message under his shirt for his Poland team-mate Tomasz Kedziora, who plays for Dynamo Kyiv and is still in Ukraine’s capital city.

“Stay strong my bro,” the message read. The Villa defender was booked for his celebration.

Matty Cash

There were also shows of support at Leeds in their defeat to Tottenham and during Crystal Palace’s draw with Burnley.

The advertising boards at LeedsSelhurst Park

Elsewhere in Europe, there was a minute’s silence prior to Bayern Munich’s 1-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga.

The German football league (DFL) announced that all top flight and second tier matches in Germany would indicate peace and sympathy with Ukraine during this weekend’s matches.

Eintracht Frankfurt v Bayern MunichEintracht Frankfurt v Bayern Munich

Bayer Leverkusen v Arminia Bielefeld
Ukraine Bayer Leverkusen v Arminia Bielefeld

There were also a number of anti-war banners exhibited during Real Madrid’s 1-0 win at Rayo Vallecano in La Liga.

Rayo Vallecano v Real Madrid
A supporter holds a sign which reads “No to war” during Rayo Vallecano v Real Madrid

Rayo Vallecano v Real Madrid

In France, the Paris St-Germain players posed with the Saint-Etienne players in front of “Peace for all” banner before their Ligue 1 meeting.

Paris St-Germain v Saint-Etienne

A sign with the horizontal blue and yellow bands representing Ukraine’s flag read ‘No War’ as Empoli hosted Juventus in Serie A.

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