FC Vorskla Poltava woke up too late to earn a point against Hannover 96 in UEFA Europa League Group B, as goals from Mohammed Abdellaoue and Christian Pander earned the visitors the points in Ukraine.
Mykola Pavlov's side were transformed after the interval after barely laying a glove on their guests in the opening period. Defender Oleksiy Kurilov gave them a foothold in the game with a strike early in the second half, but while Vorskla hit the post and threw everything at Hannover, the distinctly rattled German side clung on.
Hannover looked to have it all wrapped up by half-time. Abdellaoue's shot from distance whistled inside Serhiy Dolganskiy's left-hand post on 32 minutes, and with the sleepy Vorskla defence giving their captain little protection, Dolganskiy was beaten again just before the break. Pander finished expertly at the far post after Abdellaoue's attempt to dispatch Jan Schlaudraff's ball from the right with a stylish back-heel ended with a swipe at thin air.
In the Norwegian international's defence, Hannover were given plenty of opportunities to showboat before the break. Vorskla – who failed to get a single shot on target on matchday one – were timid until Kurilov found the target five minutes into the second half after Hannover failed to adequately deal with a Roman Bezus cross from the right.
It was Hannover keeper Ron-Robert Zieler's turn to feel insufficiently protected thereafter, as Vorskla awoke from their slumber. Exciting 21-year-old Bezus was everywhere, and the dogged Pavlo Rebenok was unlucky to hit the post as the Green tide rolled over Mirko Slomka's side. Zieler could barely believe his luck when Kurilov fired straight at him from a great position late on as Hannover kept the three points, but only just.