Armenia 2-2 Ukraine
A last-gasp penalty from substitute Albert Sargsyan sealed a fabulous fightback from Armenia as Ukraine were shocked in their EURO 2004™ Group 6 qualifier in Yerevan.
It had all started so differently for the visitors, who were in front after just two minutes. Hennadiy Zubov's slide-rule pass put Serhiy Serebrennikov through on goal and the Club Brugge KV forward made no mistake.
Zubov was the focal point of an injury-hit Ukrainian side missing the likes of Andriy Shevchenko. On 33 minutes, the FC Shakhtar Donetsk striker went on a solo run before scoring Ukraine's second with a 20-metre drive. Seemingly it was game over with little more than half-an-hour played, but Armenia were a different team after the break and roared back into life.
Boosted by three second-half substitutions, Armenia took the initiative and never allowed Ukraine to dominate as they had in the first 45. They were ultimately rewarded for their pressure in the 73rd minute.
Sargsyan's pass found Artur Petrosyan, and the midfield player dribbled through the defence and put the ball past Vitaly Reva. It was the goalscorer's fourth strike against Ukraine in his career.
Armenia, spurred on by an expectant home crowd, poured forward in search of the equaliser. They reached a frenzy when Andrej Movsesyan was brought down in the penalty area in the dying seconds. Ukrainian players protested but to no avail, the frustration leading to a red card for the visitors' Vladimir Yeserskyy. Sargsyan kept his nerve to slot the ball into the net and earn his side a valuable Group 6 point against a team that will harbour hopes of finishing top of the pile in a years' time.
"It is painful to be deprived of victory when you are two goals up," said Ukraine coach Leonid Buryak. "Of course, the injuries that hit us made the difference, as we lacked experienced players in the squad."
The point was greeted with delight by Armenia's Argentinian coach Oscar López, in his first game in charge. "I am very happy we could change the flow of the game," he said. "We were better in the second half, and if we started scoring earlier, it could have been a different outcome."