With more than a nation willing on Ukraine to win a vital football match, the team excelled and came through.
Forwards Roman Yaremchuk and Andriy Yarmolenko scored in the first 50 minutes to take the Ukraine national football team to just one step away from securing a place at the World Cup finals scheduled to be played in Qatar at the end of 2022.
Ukraine went on to beat the Scotland national team 3-1 in Glasgow on the evening of June 1.
Yarmolenko, who plays for London side West Ham, but whose contract expires at the end of this month, scored a beautiful chipped goal in the 33rd minute after an excellent pass from another ex-pat player, Ruslan Malinovsky.
In the second half Roman Yaremchuk scored a headed goal in the 49th minute to put the visitors in control.
The two Y-men, messrs Yaremchuk and Yarmolenko, were substituted on 78 minutes. Scotland pulled a goal back in the 79th minute after a mistake by Ukraine goalkeeper Heorhiy Bushchan allowed Callum McGregor to score.
As Scotland pushed forward in the last 10 minutes striker Artem Dovbyk, who came on as a substitute, broke free to score a third goal for his country in injury time.
Lightning does sometimes strike twice, as Dovbyk came on as a substitute at the same stadium a year ago and scored the winning goal against Sweden in the delayed Euro-2020 championship. This was a sublime individual goal as he raced through on goal to seal victory.
Speaking to Ukrainian TV after the game, Atalanta’s Ruslan Malinovsky said “this victory is for all our troops and for all Ukrainians. I am so proud of how well the guys played tonight.”
Ukraine will now meet Wales in Cardiff on Sunday, June 5, with the winner heading to Qatar in November to join the likes of England, France, Spain, Germany and Argentina in the 32-country finals.
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