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's Oleksandr Zinchenko and Everton's Vitaliy Mykolenko, who are both from Ukraine, were seen embracing during the warm-up of the game at Goodison Park earlier today.
Manchester City's Oleksandr Zinchenko and Everton's Vitaliy Mykolenko, who are both from Ukraine, were seen embracing during the warm-up of the game at Goodison Park earlier today. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

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."

Read more: Chelsea's Russian owner Roman Abramovich hands over stewardship of club

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.

Ukrainians Vitalli Mykolenko of Everton and Oleksandr Zinchenko of Manchester City embrace before the Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool.
Ukrainians Vitalli Mykolenko of Everton and Oleksandr Zinchenko of Manchester City embrace before the Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool. Picture: Alamy

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.

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