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In a stadium in north-west England, two Ukrainian footballers on opposite teams embrace prior to kickoff, before being brought to tears as teammates line up for a match wearing tops displaying the Ukraine flag and the message: “No War.”

An hour earlier in west London, fans of Brentford and Newcastle unite to applaud the return to competitive football of Christian Eriksen, eight months after he suffered a cardiac arrest during a European Championship game.

Ukrainians Oleksandr Zinchenko, of Manchester City, and Vitaliy Mykolenko, of Everton, embrace before the start of their Premier League fixture at Goodison Park.

Ukrainians Oleksandr Zinchenko, of Manchester City, and Vitaliy Mykolenko, of Everton, embrace before the start of their Premier League fixture at Goodison Park.Credit:AP

It was a touching, emotional and at times uplifting day in the Premier League on Saturday, marked by messages of solidarity across the country from players and fans toward those in – and from – Ukraine following Russia’s invasion.

Nowhere more so than at Goodison Park, where the football – Manchester City beat Everton 1-0 to move six points clear at the top – felt somewhat insignificant as City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko and Everton’s Vitaliy Mykolenko, two Ukraine internationals, walked toward each other during the warmups and hugged.

After taking their respective places on the substitutes’ bench, the players were seen in tears as He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother by The Hollies was played inside Goodison Park. Everton players were draped in Ukraine flags.

The main screen at Selhurst Park before Crystal Palace’s Premier League game against Burnley.

The main screen at Selhurst Park before Crystal Palace’s Premier League game against Burnley.Credit:Getty Images

Everton usually comes out for games at Goodison to the Z-Cars theme that features an air-raid siren. Not this time, as a mark of respect.

At Old Trafford, where Manchester United was held to a 0-0 draw by Watford, players from both teams came together before the start of the match behind a sign showing the word “peace” in several languages.

And at Brighton’s Amex Stadium, Matty Cash scored the goal that sent Aston Villa on its way to a 2-0 win and marked it by taking off his jersey, revealing a message to a teammate in the Poland national side who plays his club football in Ukraine.



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