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Ukraine boost hopes with FYR Macedonia success

FYR Macedonia 0-2 Ukraine
Yevhen Seleznyov and Artem Kravets got the goals as the visitors boosted their chances of qualifying automatically in Skopje.

Highlights: FYR Macedonia 0-2 Ukraine
Highlights: FYR Macedonia 0-2 Ukraine
  • Yevhen Seleznyov and Artem Kravets goals seal Ukraine win
  • Result makes it seven successive Group C losses for hosts
  • Ukraine level on points with Slovakia, who have superior head-to-head record
  • Mikhail Fomenko's men must better Slovakia's final day result to advance automatically
  • Final qualifiers: Belarus v FYR Macedonia, Ukraine v Spain (Monday)

Ukraine's hopes of qualifying automatically out of Group C were reinvigorated as Yevhen Seleznyov and Artem Kravets found the target against FYR Macedonia in Skopje.

Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk forward Seleznyov stroked in the opener from the penalty spot in the 59th minute before Kravets made things safe late on to move Mikhail Fomenko's men level on 19 points with second-placed Slovakia. Ukraine – who host Spain on Monday – must better Slovakia's final-day result in Luxembourg if they are to advance without the complication of the play-offs, as the Slovakians hold the better head-to-head record should the teams end level.

Andriy Yarmolenko attempts a shot
Andriy Yarmolenko attempts a shot©AFP/Getty Images

Against a side who had lost their last six qualifiers the visitors were in charge from the start. Andriy Yarmolenko drilled just wide of the near post early on while Serhiy Sydorchuk dragged a shot across the face of goal and Ruslan Rotan missed the target from ten metres on the turn. Feran Hasani's free-kick was the closest Macedonia came before the break but his curling effort was handled with minimum fuss by Andriy Pyatov.

Ukraine's attacking momentum continued after the interval and Yaroslav Rakitskiy tried his luck from range before the breakthrough eventually arrived. Sydorchuk stood up a cross to the far post and Yarmolenko's downward header hit the arm of Leonard Zhuta. Seleznyov stepped up to take the penalty and rolled an effort straight down the middle to break the deadlock. Yarmolenko then shot wide with two drilled efforts of his own while Yevhen Konoplyanka was denied brilliantly by Pacovski, but Kravets calmed nerves when he broke clear on the left, drifted into the area and slotted between the legs of the goalkeeper.