England and Ukraine both made a strong start to their UEFA European Under-19 Championship seasons, Noel Blake's team pipping their rivals by a single goal to take first place in qualifying round Group 12 as both progressed.
Both teams put six goals past the Faroe Islands without reply, Andriy Blyznychenko scoring twice as Ukraine opened with an emphatic victory despite playing for more than an hour with ten men following the first-half dismissal of Roman Miroshnyk. Blair Turgott and Chuba Akpom then both scored twice for England as they also beat the Faroese 6-0 – but it was a 3-0 opening defeat of Estonia that was to prove decisive.
Ukraine could only manage a 2-0 victory against the country who staged both the 2012 finals and this mini-tournament, meaning they needed to defeat England in their final fixture to overtake their opponents, though both were already through to the elite round.
They looked on course for just that when, after a thrilling and tight encounter, Vladyslav Pavlenko came off the bench to give them an 88th-minute lead from distance. But deep into added time the always dangerous Hallam Hope headed in for the point England needed to come top, Estonia finishing third thanks to a 2-1 defeat of the Faroe Islands. They must now wait to see if they join England and Ukraine in the 5 December elite round draw as the third-placed side with the best record against the top two in their group.
Blake said after the Ukraine draw: "Our objective was to win the game, even though a draw would've been enough, and we played to win the match. We worked the ball into areas behind them and created good situations, but if you don't finish your chances, you can find trouble and we did find trouble."
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