Nine-man Ukraine respond in Finland

Finland 1-2 Ukraine
Goals from Roman Bezus and Pylyp Budkivskiy ensured Ukraine revived their Group 2 hopes in Lahti despite ending with nine men.

Pavlo Yakovenko's Ukraine side are still in contention
Pavlo Yakovenko's Ukraine side are still in contention ©Aleksey Yurkov

Ukraine kept their UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying hopes alive with victory in Finland to snatch Group 2 third place in Lahti.

Finland had moved a point ahead of Ukraine last week as they drew 1-1 in Slovenia a day after Ukraine lost 1-0 in Lithuania. But goals from Roman Bezus and Pylyp Budkivskiy put Ukraine in control and although they were reduced to nine men and Joel Pohjanpalo pulled one back, the visitors held on and they are within five points of second-placed Sweden with three games left.

On top from the off, Ukraine hit the woodwork on six minutes through the impressive Vitaliy Kaverin, always a threat on the left, and although Finland had their chances, Bezus broke the deadlock late in the first half, slipping his shot past goalkeeper Walter Viitala. Ukraine lost Serhiy Lyulka to a second yellow card just after the hour mark but in the 70th minute Budkivskiy pounced on a misplaced Timi Lahti pass to Viitala to make it 2-0.

Substitute Pohjanpalo gave Finland hope with three minutes left from Tuomas Rannanka's cutback, but despite Vitaliy Vitsenets received a straight red card in added time, Ukraine clinched the points. Finland go to Sweden on Wednesday desperate for a win to keep their hopes alive while Ukraine next meet leaders Slovenia on 15 August.