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Northern Ireland Women made history on Tuesday night when they beat Ukraine to reach Euro 2022, but it was an incredibly deliberate foul from midfielder Natiya Pantsulaya that grabbed the headlines on social media.
In the 86th minute of the game, with Northern Ireland one-nil up thanks to a goal from captain Marissa Callaghan, the home side looked to be in on goal after a through ball was played to striker Sarah McFadden.
Ukraine's Pantsulaya was having none of it, though. She completely took her eyes off the ball, barged into McFadden with a nasty elbow and was rightly given a straight red card for the ridiculous moment.
Just take at the below clip. Is this the most cynical foul in football history? It's got to be up there, for sure.
The Northern Ireland vs Ukraine match contained one of the most cynical fouls I have ever seen. It is almost a work of performance art. pic.twitter.com/uRKVdQ1mId- Scott Pack (@meandmybigmouth) April 13, 2021
Anyway, big congrats to Northern Ireland for making the Euros with this play-off win. Their first major tournament.- Scott Pack (@meandmybigmouth) April 13, 2021
Although I am sure, like me, you are a little sad that we won't be seeing this defender, Pantsulaya, on the big stage next year.
At this point I think I'm witnessing a top 5 worst ever moment of defensive decision-making. That is shocking.. pic.twitter.com/EQ03yoRhYA- The Tactical Times (@Tactical_Times) April 13, 2021
why didn't she just go for the ball??- Conor McCann (@MessiConor) April 13, 2021
Away from the foul and it was indeed a historic night for Kenny Shiels' side, who went on to score another goal late on secure a 4-1 win on aggregate.
Goalscorer Nadene Caldwell called their achievement "an absolute dream come true" after the final whistle.
"We can't believe it," she told BBC. "There are no words. Behind the scenes, the girls have done amazing preparation and the coaching staff have been unbelievable.
"It's unbelievable for the country and there is going to be a ripple effect in the years to come. Women's football in Northern Ireland can kick on from here."
:tada:- UEFA Women's EURO (@UEFAWomensEURO) April 13, 2021
Congratulations to Northern Ireland who are through to the #WEUR02022 finals after making history with a 2-0 win over Ukraine in Belfast to qualify for their first major women's tournament! :clap:#WEURO2022 ' Play-offs
Congratulations to Northern Ireland for qualifying for their first women's tournament.
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