EPL

Guardiola grateful to Everton for Ukraine gestures

By Sports Desk February 26, 2022

Pep Guardiola has thanked Everton for their pro-Ukraine gestures prior to Saturday's Premier League match at Goodison Park.

Russia began a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Thursday and attacks have continued in the two days since, with fighting reaching the capital of Kyiv.

Both City and Everton named a Ukrainian player on the bench, with Vitaliy Mykolenko among the hosts' substitutes and Oleksandr Zinchenko present for the visitors.

Zinchenko was spotted at a rally in Manchester on Thursday as he protested Russia's attack on his home nation, and he received a touching reception from Everton fans during the warm-up.

He and Mykolenko also shared an embrace on the pitch before the match, while Everton fans unfurled pro-Ukraine banners in the stands.

Everton also opted to drop their use of an air-raid siren as the teams entered the field, with the sound used in recent seasons to boost the atmosphere in the stadium.

City players donned white T-shirts bearing the Ukraine flag and the slogan 'no war' written across it – the Everton starting XI took to the pitch draped in flags.

City won the game 1-0 thanks to a late Phil Foden goal, but much of the pre-match focus remained on the emotional scenes.

"I said on behalf of Manchester City thank you so much for the lovely gesture for Aleks and their player and the concern that happened," Guardiola told reporters.

"The concern is all around the world and I'm pretty sure the UK showed what a strange situation it is when people send innocent people that don't hate each other in Ukraine and Russia to kill each other because one guy at home decides to do it.

"Hopefully it can be resolved soon and there are no more victims in this conflict."

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