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Belarus win keeps Ukraine in Group C contention

Ukraine 3-1 Belarus
First-half goals from Artem Kravets, Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevhen Konoplyanka ensured the 2012 co-hosts kept alive their 2016 hopes.

Highlights: Ukraine - Belarus 3:1
  • Three first-half strikes secure Ukraine victory against Belarus
  • Artem Kravets gives Ukraine early advantage in Lviv (7)
  • Andriy Yarmolenko (30) and Yevhen Konoplyanka (40pen) add further goals
  • Sergei Kornilenko pulls one back from the penalty spot (62)
  • Next games: Slovakia v Ukraine, Belarus v Luxembourg (8 September)

First-half goals from Artem Kravets, Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevhen Konoplyanka put Ukraine on course for victory against Belarus and kept alive their hopes of a top-two finish in UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying Group C.

Ukraine kicked off third in the section and immediately looked determined to put pressure on Slovakia and Spain above them, Kravets testing Andrei Gorbunov with a snapshot from distance before 30 seconds had gone. The breakthrough was not long delayed as a towering clearance from goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov was missed by Maksim Volodko and Kravets took full advantage, firing low into the net.

Kravets was denied a second by the keeper's diving stop moments later, Gorbunov then spreading himself to block Konoplyanka's close-range effort. Ukraine kept coming, however, and though Gorbunov prevented Vyacheslav Shevchuk's left-wing cross reaching Taras Stepanenko, Yarmolenko tapped in the loose ball to double the Ukraine lead.

Yevhen Konoplyanka was among the scorers
Yevhen Konoplyanka was among the scorers©AFP/Getty Images

It was three five minutes before the break, Konoplyanka sending Gorbunov the wrong way from the penalty spot after Mikhail Sivakov had barged over Kravets inside the area. Belarus responded in kind just past the hour, Yevhen Khacheridi impeding Sergei Kornilenko and the No8 picking himself up to smash the conversion high past Pyatov.

That was as good as it got for the visitors, though, with Ukraine the likelier side to find another goal in the closing stages although their evening ended on a sour note when Denys Garmash collected a second yellow card. They had already done enough for three points, however, maintaining the 2012 co-hosts' hopes of a second successive finals appearance.