Ukraine squandered a host of opportunities as they were held to a surprising goalless draw by FIFA World Cup Group H rivals Moldova.
After a cautious first half the visitors laid siege to their opponents' goal after the restart, but with no reward. Andriy Yarmolenko and Taras Mikhalik were particularly guilty of profligacy, while Roman Zozulya came closest to a winner in Chisinau with a shot that came back off the upright.
Zozulya started in attack for a side shorn of Andriy Dykan, Yaroslav Rakitskiy and Yevhen Konoplyanka, and overseen by Andriy Bal with the outgoing Oleh Blokhin unavailable due to illness. The interim coach would not have been too enthused with a flat first-half performance, but midway through the second period they sparked to life.
Zozulya fired over a warning shot and, after Yarmolenko had wasted a golden opportunity from close range, he struck the post. Oleh Gusev reached the rebound first but was denied by a defender. Next it was defender Mikhalik's turn as he somehow missed the goal from one metre following Ruslan Rotan's corner.
It could have been even worse for Ukraine, as they were almost caught by a sucker punch two minutes from time. Andriy Pyatov was equal to Alexandru Dedov's shot and Ukraine will try to make amends on Tuesday when they host Montenegro; lose and Moldova could move above them with victory in San Marino.