Argentina made it into the quarter-finals of the FIFA Futsal World Cup Colombia 2016 after they were taken to extra-time by a stubborn Ukraine, but finally getting a 1-0 victory.
After being absent from Ukraine’s final group game through suspension, captain Ievgen Ivanyak instantly showed his importance to the side as he made a fine double-save from Cristian Borruto – before denying him again when one-on-one.
This constituted the best of Argentina’s early chances, as their tight and energetic defence forced Ukraine into errors, but produced few clear opportunities to trouble Ivanyak further. The encounter was always predicted to be one with organisation high on the agenda, and Ukraine did not disappoint on that front either.
They found their way into the game as it went on, with Oleksandr Sorokin rifling into the side-netting, as they opted for their tried and tested route to goal – shooting from distance.
Ivanyak was there to deny Borruto again as the second half began, with both teams putting their efforts into trying to tease open gaps to utilise. And Argentina were the ones finding most joy.
Some great interplay between Alan Brandi and Pablo Taborda saw the latter draw another save from Ivanyak, while Constantino Vaporaki and Borruto both spurned great opportunities.
It was one-way traffic for Argentina, but the wall of Ivanyak stood strong - saving 21 of Argentina's 22 shots on target, with tension visibly building – and at times spilling over in what had descended into a scrappy encounter. But it could not be decided in the allotted 40 minutes.
The pattern remained, until Leandro Cuzzolino struck fiercely from the second penalty spot to finally break Ukraine’s resistance with 90 seconds of extra-time to go. They will face either Italy or Egypt in the quarter-finals in Medellin on Sunday.