Ukraine’s passionate quest for World Cup qualifiers in the ongoing battle is one step closer to a thrilling 3-1 win over Scotland in a thrilling play-off semifinal on Wednesday.
Experienced captain Andrei Yarmolenko boosted his country with a perfect Lobed goal in the 33rd minute and then assisted Roman Yaremchuk’s header in the 49th minute.
Ukraine dominated for a deserved win although Scotland’s revival had to be resisted as a risky attack led to a goal from Callum McGregor’s 79th goal, before Ukraine substitute Artem Dobbike scored with the last kick of the game.
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Dovbyk took his teammates to the corner of the stadium to share the celebration with 3,000 Ukrainian supporters in a crowd of 51,000, raising their hands over their heads to applaud each other.
Now Ukraine will face Wales on Monday morning (AEST) for a place in the World Cup.
The Cardiff winners will travel to Qatar in November to play in groups against England, the United States and Iran.
Ukraine has also used six starters to show a flair for those who have not played a competitive game since December.
Most of Ukraine’s squads play for home-based clubs whose leagues were closed after the Russian attack and whose play-offs were postponed in Glasgow. FIFA and Scotland have agreed to give the Ukrainian team a fair chance to prepare for the games, which have become the focus of national identity and pride.
Scotland lacked the necessary classes and has been waiting 24 years for World Cup football since the 1998 tournament.
Ukraine’s victory could have been confirmed earlier but 39-year-old Scottish goalkeeper Craig Gordon is to save early and often. As the Scots chase back into the game, John McGinn widens a header from close range in the 67th minute.
Ukraine is on a wave of goodwill around the world because of the Russian aggression and the intense motivation of its players to reward the nation on the biggest stage of football.
The Ukrainian players all took to the field with blue and yellow national flags on their shoulders.
The warm reception was accompanied by loud applause from Scottish fans of the Ukrainian national anthem “Shche ne vmerla Ukrainas”. Many of the same supporters stayed off the field to greet their winning opponents at the end of the game.
Some Ukrainian supporters traveled long distances and planned to stay in Britain for Monday’s decisive play-off.
George Butromeyev told the Associated Press before the game that he had come with friends from Toronto to support the players who “must show the people of Ukraine that we are fighters.”
“It’s not just about football,” said Yaroslav Grigorenko, who traveled from Amsterdam. “It’s important to be at the top of the discussion here in Europe, so that (people) do not forget what is happening in Ukraine.”
Born in Scotland, Alex Damianzuk wore a Ukrainian yellow and blue kilt and his parents wanted to advance the race. Ukraine playing in the World Cup, he said, “there will be something that really (Russian President Vladimir) will get into Putin’s nerves.”
In Kiev, fans were determined to gather to watch the match during the night curfew, which began at 11pm local time before the start of the second half.
After the end of the beer and meat bar curfew in downtown Kyiv, fans went around the curfew, offering to stay until 5am.
A few minutes before the police kickoff jumped towards the bar in a patrol car, the fan of the airstrike asked fans to go to the drinking hole’s basement room.
Alexei Safin, 40, who works as a voice actor, stood with his right hand on his heart while he played the national anthem. He and other supporters erupted in celebration as Ukraine scored the first goal. But the war in the eastern part of the country has not been forgotten.
“Looks like we’re having a lot of fun but, in fact, we’re not,” Safin said. “We are trying to look as normal as possible, but we still remember what happened before.
“It’s a good fight, just as we are fighting the Russians right now,” Safin said. “We can show that we can do it.”
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