Scotland's 100 per cent winning start in Group B came to an end as second-half goals from Olexandr Kucher and Andriy Shevchenko earned Ukraine a deserved 2-0 victory in Kiev.
First international goal
Kucher struck his first goal for his country on the hour to cap a spell of severe pressure on the Scottish goal and, following the 86th-minute dismissal of Steven Pressley, Shevchenko secured the points from the penalty spot in the dying seconds. The win takes Ukraine on to six points from their first three UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifiers. Scotland, despite their disappointment here, remain strongly placed on nine points.
With Shevchenko back after missing last weekend's loss to Italy, Ukraine began on the front foot. Shevchenko set up Oleh Gusev for the first notable opportunity after just four minutes but the No9's shot deflected wide off Pressley. Scotland, for their part, welcomed back Kenny Miller from suspension but 14 minutes in, he was left grimacing in frustration after Darren Fletcher missed a chance to play him through as space opened up in the Ukraine defence.
Scares for Scots
That was a rare foray forward for the visitors who suffered several scares as the first period progressed. Maxym Kalynychenko headed just over, Andriy Voronin failed to make firm contact with Shevchenko's mishit shot, then Shevchenko himself poked the ball weakly at Craig Gordon following a scramble.
With half-time approaching Gordon did well to save Voronin's powerful near-post shot but Ukraine only upped the pressure in the second half. Shevchenko fired a low strike against the post from close range on 47 minutes and sent a free header wide shortly after. After Gary Caldwell blocked Andriy Nesmachniy's fierce drive with a brave header, Scotland's resistance finally cracked on the hour. Shevchenko's free-kick into the box ran loose off Vyacheslav Sviderskiy and Kucher turned on the ball and beat Gordon with a low shot.
Miller goes close
Scotland were close to equalising when Miller's cross from the right glanced off the crossbar on 65 minutes and the same player should have scored with eight minutes remaining but directed a free header wide. Any hopes of a comeback were snuffed when Pressley saw red for a foul on Shevchenko as he bore down on goal and the Ukraine talisman sealed the win in the 90th minute when he beat Gordon from the spot after being fouled by debutant Robbie Neilson.