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Koridze helps Ukraine to victory

Ukraine 3-2 Belarus (Agg: 7-2)
The Ukrainians are looking forward to playing in the FIFA finals in 2004.

Ukraine are looking forward to the 2004 FIFA Futsal World Championship after seeing off the challenge of Belarus in their play-off tie.

Good support
The 2003 UEFA European Futsal Championship runners-up recorded a 3-2 win against Belarus at a packed Druzhba Sports Palace in Donetsk tonight, to clinch a 7-2 aggregate success. The home side, who were missing some key players to suspension and injury, took their time to get going but their place in the finals was never really in doubt.

Koridze on target
The match began at a slow tempo but the home crowd went wild in the 14th minute when the prolific striker Serhiy Koridze neatly finished after superbly controlling a tricky pass from Fedir Pylypiv. Two minutes later, the lead was extended when Maxym Pavlenko surged clear after winning possession and fired into the net. A minute before the interval, Serhiy Sytin and Vitaliy Brunko combined to provide Pylypiv with his side's third.

Popov brilliance
The Belarussians showed plenty of spirit in the second period and had a number of excellent chances that tested the in-form Ukraine goalkeeper Olexiy Popov. The vistors managed to pull two goals back though, through Vitali Bichankou and Sergei Kouznetsov.

Mixed reaction
Turning his thoughts to the finals in Chinese Taipei, Ukraine coach Gennady Lysenchuk said: "We fulfilled our task and I am pleased with that. The score is not important today. Belarus are a very good team and their [qualifying round] win over the Netherlands proved that." His opposite number Valeriy Dosko praised the victors. "I am quite sure Ukraine will perform well in the finals. We started well and had some good chances to take the lead but Popov played a great game."