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Ukraine duo share emotional pre-match embrace ahead of Everton vs Man City
26 February 2022, 18:59 | Updated: 26 February 2022, 19:26
Manchester City defender Oleksandr Zinchenko fought back tears after embracing fellow Ukrainian Vitalii Mykolenko ahead of his side’s Premier League clash with Everton.
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The two stars shared a moving embrace at Goodison Park on Saturday as both clubs showed their support for Ukraine, with the ground erupting into applause.
Zinchenko, 25, made his way to the halfway line to hug the Everton defender Mykolenko, 22 - his national teammate - following the devastating Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Zinchenko has posted messages of support for his homeland and attended a vigil in Manchester City centre on Thursday night.
Fans from both sides displayed Ukraine flags and banners, and voiced their support for the pair and the rest of Ukraine before kick-off.
People have been reacting to the emotional moment online, which was described by one fan as "amazing".
Another posted: "More than just a game."
Amazing moment at Goodison Park between Zinchenko and Mykolenko 🇺🇦 😢 ❤️ pic.twitter.com/8cdozCocnw— Arlo White 💙 (@arlowhite) February 26, 2022
Meanwhile, Manchester United and Watford players also held up a banner saying 'Peace' ahead of their goalless draw at Old Trafford.
Aston Villa's Matty Cash paid tribute to Poland team-mate Tomasz Kedziora, who plays in Ukraine, after he scored against Brighton.
England and Wales' rugby union players stood in solidarity against the Russian invasion before they met at Twickenham in the Six Nations.
British intelligence earlier suggested Russian forces were facing "significant logistical difficulties" in the face of a strong resistance from Ukraine.
However, fighting continues in major cities around the country and troops are understood to be closing in on Kyiv, Ukraine's capital.
Nearly 200 people, including 3 children have been killed and it's estimated 120,000 people have fled the country.
Protests have been held across the UK today with thousands standing in solidarity against President Putin.
Demonstrations took place in Manchester, Edinburgh and London - with people shouting 'Stop the War, Stop Putin' outside Downing Street.
Meanwhile performances by the Russian state ballet have been cancelled in Birmingham and Wolverhampton.