Goals from Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevhen Khacheridi helped Ukraine grind out a FIFA World Cup qualifying Group H win against Moldova in Odesa.
Having revived their hopes with victory in Poland on Friday, Mikhail Fomenko's side were keen to close further in on Montenegro and England. But it was not until past the hour that Yarmolenko broke the deadlock and Khacheridi soon added a second before Moldova substitute Alexandru Suvorov pulled one back.
While Ukraine surged forward from the start, Moldova stood firm and the home team, without suspended Denys Garmash and Ruslan Rotan, struggled to create openings. On 12 minutes Yarmolenko sent Yevhen Seleznyov clear but goalkeeper Stanislav Namaşco blocked his shot. Yarmolenko then missed and later was unable to connect with Vyacheslav Shevchuk's low centre in front of goal.
However, Yarmolenko's industry was rewarded in the 61st minute when he calmly slotted in after Roman Zozulya flicked on Roman Bezus's cross. Nine minutes later goalscorer turned provider as his corner was headed in by Khacheridi.
Ukraine were looking solid, but Moldova gave themselves hope through Suvorov with ten minutes left. Nonetheless, Ukraine – in fourth place – held on despite Taras Stepanenko receiving a straight red card in added time and they can prepare for their crucial 7 June trip to Montenegro in good heart. Moldova remain fifth.