Ukraine 2-0 Scotland

KIEV, Ukraine -- Scotland's fantastic start to Euro 2008 qualifying came to a halt as they toppled to defeat in Kiev.

Ukraine's Andriy Shevchenko (L), and Scotland's Robbie Neilson challenge for the ball during their Euro 2008 qualifying soccer match in Kiev, Ukraine,

The Scots adopted a defensive approach but their stubborn resistance was broken on the hour by a close range shot from Olexander Kucher.

Kenny Miller hit the crossbar with a speculative effort and headed a wonderful chance wide on 80 minutes.

But Scotland lost Steven Pressley to a red card and Ukraine captain Andriy Shevchenko converted a late penalty.

The sending off and the penalty were harsh but Scotland can have no complaints about the result.

Ukraine enjoyed the lion's share of possession, with Scotland sitting in deep and inviting the home team to come at them.

Shevchenko looked lively early on and his run and shot was deflected wide by the lunging Pressley.

Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon had to gather a header from Maxim Kalynychenko and the same player headed over the crossbar soon after.

On a rare Scotland burst forward, Paul Hartley released Darren Fletcher down the right flank but, with Miller speeding in on goal, the midfielder's weak cut-back was easily intercepted.

The Scots were given a scare following a scramble from a 26th minute corner but Shevkenko could only poke the ball into Gordon's arms from close range.

Andriy Voronin gave the massed ranks of Scots defenders the slip five minutes before the interval but Gordon was able to beat away the forward's powerful strike. Two minutes after the break, Scotland enjoyed a huge slice of fortune when Shevkenko hit the woodwork.

David Weir was at full stretch to block the striker's first effort and, when the ball broke back to the Chelsea star, his shot rolled beyond Gordon but struck the post.

The yellow shirts of Ukraine continued to swarm forward and a blistering shot from Andriy Nesmachny was expertly headed to safety by Gary Caldwell.

But the home side took advantage of a lucky break to take the lead.

James McFadden appeared to have cleared a Shevchenko free-kick but the ball hit Vyacheslav Sviderski and the ball ran through to Kucher, who drilled a shot home through Caldwell's legs.

Gordon had his hands warmed by a swerving strike from Shevenko before Scotland went close to an unlikely equaliser.

Miller's dipping delivery from the right deceived goalkeeper Olexander Shovkovsky and bounced off the crossbar.

The Celtic striker then passed up a glorious chance with ten minutes remaining.

Full-back Robbie Neilson swung in a great cross and the unmarked Miller dipped in to header but skewed his effort wide from eight yards out.

Pressley was shown a straight red for a late challenge on Shevenko and the Ukraine skipper won a very soft penalty in the closing minutes.

Shevenko collapsed in the box while tussling with Neilson and then slotted the ball home from the spot.

Source: BBC Sport


Anonymous said…
Dirty cheating soviet faced bastard.
From an angry real football fan who thought you were made of better stuff.