Ukraine pens winning return with World Cup qualifying playoff semifinal win (video)

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The Ukraine men’s national team’s first match since Russia’s invasion of their country could hardly have carried more weight, emotionally or sporting, and the Blue and Yellow responded with a 3-1 defeat of Scotland in a World Cup qualifying playoff semifinal at Hampden Park in Glasgow.

Andriy Yarmolenko put Ukraine ahead in the 33rd minute with a magnificent bit of coordination, taking down a Ruslan Malinovskyi long ball and popping it over keeper Craig Gordon.

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And Roman Yaremchuk nodded a cross back across goal and inside the far post shortly after halftime to complicate Scotland’s quest to reach Sunday’s playoff final versus Wales. The winner joins a World Cup group with the United States men’s national team, Iran, and England.

Celtic’s Callum McGregor gave the hosts hope when his blast took a wicked turn and Taras Stepanenko’s goal line clearance did not defy the Goal Decision System.

But Artem Dovbyk scored deep in stoppage time as Ukraine gave their fans and country a huge lift on a night strewn with emotion.

Wales played a UEFA Nations League match against Poland on Wednesday, with Jakub Kaminski and Karol Swiderski leading the hosts to a 2-1 win over the Welsh.

Sunday’s playoff final between Wales and Ukraine will kickoff at Noon ET.

Scotland vs Ukraine final score, stats

Scotland 1, Ukraine 3

Scorers: Yarmolenko (33′), Yaremchuk (49′), McGregor (79′), Dovbyk (90’+5)