London [UK], June 2 (ANI): Scotland fell short in their quest to qualify for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 as goals from Andriy Yarmolenko, Roman Yaremchuk and Artem Dovbyk gave Ukraine the win in the Play-off semi-final clash at Hampden Park on Wednesday.
With this win, Ukraine have set up the Play-off final against Wales. For Scotland, Callum McGregor’s second-half strike went in vain as they lost 3-1.
The anthems got proceedings underway at Hampden Park – as the Ukraine players each stood draped in their country’s flag for their anthem on an emotional night in their first competitive match since the ongoing conflict began in Ukraine in February.
As the game got underway, it was the away side who created the first opening in the 8th minute as Viktor Tsyhankov latched onto a cut-back but his crisp first-time effort was tipped over by Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon.
The Scots grew into the game though and Hickey headed wide before Grant Hanley also missed with a header from a Robertson corner. Ukraine then almost took the lead in the 15th minute, but Gordon once again produced a brilliant save, this time down low to deny Andriy Yarmolenko.
It was an open first half and the hosts were the next to pour forward, with Robertson seeing his shot blocked before John McGinn fired over. It was the away side who crafted the next opening in the 33rd minute though and this time Gordon could not repeat his heroics.
The dangerous Yarmolenko made a great run to get on the end of a ball over the top, before taking a touch and cutely dinking the ball over the Scottish goalkeeper. Just that goal separated the sides at the break but it was soon to get worse for Scotland as the visitors doubled their lead on 49 minutes as Roman Yaremchuk rose to head in at the far post.
Scotland attempted to rally and McGregor was inches away from pulling a goal back as he charged down a clearance, before substitute Ryan Christie produced a save from Heorhiy Bushchan with a low strike.
McGinn then narrowly missed the target with a glorious headed opportunity as the hosts began to pile on the pressure. It was Scotland’s best period of the game and Che Adams was next to come close with a low drive before McGinn’s follow up was excellently blocked.
The pressure soon told and it was McGregor who got the Scots on the scoresheet in the 79th minute.
Stuart Armstrong’s lofted cross was only parried by Bushchan and the midfielder followed up to strike on the half-volley, with hawk-eye ruling that the ball had just carried over the line after a touch from the Ukrainian goalkeeper.
The home support roared on their side and they continued to press for an equaliser but Hanley’s missed header was the closest they came to a leveller. There was to be a cruel end for Scotland as Ukraine broke forward in the 95th minute and substitute Artem Dovbyk scored a third with the last kick of the game after a counter attack. (ANI)