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Iceland have given themselves a good chance of reaching next summer's UEFA European Women's Championship in Sweden after defeating Ukraine 3-2 in the opening leg of their play-off.
Margrét Lára Vidarsdóttir's 64th-minute strike proved the winner, deflating the hosts after they had battled back from going 2-0 down inside the first 25 minutes to level with a goal either side of half-time.
Iceland asserted themselves from the outset, regularly causing problems down the flanks, and pressing well out of possession to force the Ukrainians into errors. The tactics worked perfectly, and in the fifth minute a misplaced pass by Valentyna Kotyk allowed Katrín Ómarsdóttir to steal in and grab a lead for the visitors. Iceland doubled their advantage 20 minutes later, as a mix-up in the Ukraine midfield ended with Hólmfrídur Magnúsdóttir charging in on goal. She tucked the ball beyond keeper Iryna Zvarych with ease.
The hosts only really threatened from set pieces until, in the 39th minute, Ukraine caught their opponents on the counterattack. Daryna Apanaschenko's brilliant pass split the Iceland defence, and Tetyana Romanenko pulled a goal back. Pressing for a leveller, Anatoliy Kutsev's side heaped pressure on Iceland after the break, and their efforts were rewarded with a dangerous free-kick, which was dispatched in style by Tetyana Chorna.
In their eagerness to hunt for the win, however, Ukraine left space at the back and Iceland exploited it just after the hour. Vidarsdóttir converted Fanndís Fridriksdóttir's left-wing cross to take a potentially priceless lead into the second leg in Reykjavik on Thursday.
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