Ukraine moved a step closer to qualifying for the 2022 World Cup tonight with an emotional 3-1 victory over Scotland at Hampden Park.
The visitors were by far the better team in the first half, forcing two good saves from Craig Gordon before a classy, lobbed finish from Andriy Yarmolenko put them in front.
Early in the second half Roman Yaremchuk doubled Ukraine’s lead with a deft header. A scrambled goal from Callum McGregor with just over ten minutes left gave Scotland hope.
The home team piled forward, but were caught out in injury time as Artem Dovbyk slotted a late goal past Gordon.
Ukraine will now face Wales in Cardiff on Sunday for a place at the World Cup in November.
TALKING POINT – WILL UKRAINE NOW QUALIFY?
Their players walked out draped in the Ukrainian flag and secured an emotional victory to push them one step closer to the World Cup in Qatar. Another huge occasion awaits them on Sunday; it’s such an ask for players who must be wracked with inner turmoil, but if they can go all the way to the World Cup it keeps Ukraine, and everyone suffering back home, right in the forefront of minds all across the world.
MAN OF THE MATCH – OLEKSANDR ZINCHENKO (UKRAINE)
Playing in an unfamiliar position in central midfield, Zinchenko made it clear to see why Pep Guardiola is such a fan of his. He ran the game with his clever movement and sharp, incisive passing tearing open the Scottish defence time after time. Off the pitch Zinchenko has been a credit to his country in recent months; he was superb on it.
Scotland (3-4-2-1): Gordon 7; McTominay 6, Hanley 5, Cooper 6; Hickey 5, Gilmour 5, McGregor 7, Robertson 6; McGinn 7; Adams 6, Dykes 6
SUBS: Christie 7, Hendry 6, Armstrong 6
Ukraine (4-1-4-1): Bushchan 6; Karavaev 7, Zabarnyi 6, Matvienko 7, Mykolenko 7; Stepanenko 6; Yarmolenko 7, Malinovskyi 7, Zinchenko 8*, Tysgankov 7; Yaremchuk 7
SUBS: Mudryk 7, Shaparenko 6, Dovbyk 7, Zubkov 5, Sydorchuk 6
17′ BIG CHANCE! Ukraine slice through Scotland down the left. Yaremchuk loses it in the area and the ball breaks to Yarmolenko, who spins and bullets a shot that Gordon saves from point-blank range. The ball squirms back towards goal, but Gordon gathers just in time; what a huge moment that could be!
GOAL! SCOTLAND 0 UKRAINE 1 (YARMOLENKO 33) They’ve looked the most likely, and they’re ahead! A long ball from Zabarnyi travels 60 yards, right over the heads of Scotland’s high back three, and Yarmolenko is clean through. He controls it with his left on the edge of the area, and then gently lifts the ball over Gordon to put Ukraine ahead!
49′ GOAL! SCOTLAND 0 UKRAINE 2 (YAREMCHUK 49) Scotland are in deep trouble now. Ukraine put together another nice move on the right, with Yarmolenko eventually working the ball to Karavaev. He crosses to the back post, where Yaremchuk towers over Hickey and guides a header back across goal and into the bottom corner. It’s another superbly worked goal!
67′ OH WHAT A MISS! My oh my. Christie releases McTominay into the area. McTominay’s cross is spilled by Bushchan, straight to McGinn who heads wide from six yards out!
79′ GOAL! SCOTLAND 1 (MCGREGOR 79) UKRAINE 2 Well now! Armstrong lofts a hopeful free-kick into the area. Bushchan punches it off the head of McTominay, but it breaks to McGregor on the edge. His shot is weak but it goes through the hands of Bushchan, trickling over the line before it’s cleared, and Scotland are back in it!
90+5′ GOAL! SCOTLAND 1 UKRAINE 3 (DOVBYK 90+5′) Zinchenko wins a loose ball on the edge of his own area. He races forwards, knowing he has Scotland outnumbered, and slides a perfectly timed pass through the defence. Dovbyk races onto it, and coolly slots the ball past Gordon to end the contest!