It was a great victory for the war-torn country and not least for the approximately 4,000 Ukrainians in the stands at Hampden Park. Star strikers Andrij Jarmolenko and Roman Jaremtsjuk as well as Artem Dovbyk scored in the most deserved victory.
Scotland bounced back from 0-2 and connected a tight grip on the semi-final towards the end, but Callum McGregor’s goal after 78 minutes became the hosts’ only. At the end, Dovbyk countered the 3-1 goal.
– Every match is like a final for us. We as a team have dreamed of the World Cup, and now there is only one match left. We have to win it, Ukraine star Oleksandr Zinchenko told Sky Sports.
– We knew it was going to be tough tonight, but we scored three goals, and we could have scored even more, the Manchester City defender thought.
Ukraine had not played an official international match since November, but the team was not at all affected by the Scots. The yellow jerseys created several great chances before the break, and Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon was put to the test early.
The first goal came after 32 minutes and was of the highest quality. Ruslan Malinovskyj hit a precise 60-meter pass up to Jarmolenko, who controlled the ball over Gordon and into the net.
The goal resulted in both tears and wild cheers among the Ukrainians in the stands.
The Scots did not score a single shot on goal before the break and delivered a disappointing performance. And shortly after the change of sides, it slammed backwards again. A nice roll-up from the Ukrainians ended with strong Jaremtsjuk heading in 2-0 in the corner on a post from Oleksandr Karavajev.
Scotland were not completely without a chance, but for over an hour they lacked the finishes when they had the opportunity. John McGinn should have reduced the lead in the second half, but the Aston Villa profile headed outside from five yards out.
At this point, there was more speed over the Scots, and the Ukrainians looked somewhat trembling backwards. Keeper Georgij Busjtsjan was on the scoresheet for a long time, but a somewhat weak boxing resulted in McGregor getting the ball in goal.
Ukraine got a tough job of staying away towards the end, but managed it with difficulty and hardly. In addition, the 3-1 goal came well into overtime when Zinchenko snatched the ball and sent Dovbyk alone with the goalkeeper.
The last obstacle on the way to the World Cup in Qatar is Wales. The final will be played in Cardiff on Sunday.
– It will be a massive match for us. It’s the final, and each of us must play the match of his life. Then we will see what happens, Zinchenko said.