Scotland beats Ukraine to a goalless draw to win Nations League group

A struggling Scotland dug deep in several ways to lift the Nations League group and move up to League A with a goalless draw against Ukraine.

Exhausted by injuries and suspensions, Steve Clarke’s side needed just a point to top Group B1 and had to push their luck at times before celebrating a great result at Cracovia Stadium.

Ukraine, who were beaten 3-0 at Hampden Park last week, missed two great chances, particularly in the goalless first half, and goalkeeper Craig Gordon looked in unbeatable form.

Scotland finished Group B1 two points clear of Oleksandr Petrakov’s side and, alongside promotion to the top division, a place below runners-up for Euro qualifying and a play-off place for that competition if the normal qualifying campaign did so does not go according to plan, was also secured.

Clarke’s roster was sheared from several particular starters, mostly on defense.

Grant Hanley, Liam Cooper and skipper Andy Robertson had not made the squad for the triple header through injury and the sidelines were joined by the likes of Kieran Tierney, Nathan Patterson, Scott McKenna and Scott McTominay, the latter suspended, during a Virus had also infected the camp.

There have been six changes since the weekend’s win against the Republic of Ireland, with 23-year-old Hibernian defender Ryan Porteous starting on his debut and Kenny McLean, Greg Taylor, Ryan Jack, Ryan Fraser and Che Adams returning were side.

The game was played in Poland due to Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine and officially there were 3,000 Tartan Army in the 15,000 capacity stadium and making a lot of noise as the Scots started purposefully.

In the second minute, Ukraine keeper Andriy Lunin saved an Adams shot at his right post for a corner that was defended.

Ukraine settled down and should have taken the lead in the seventh minute when speedy winger Mykhailo Mudryk picked out unmarked captain Andriy Yarmolenko at the back post, but the latter volleyed it high over the bar, only to beat Gordon.

There was another stab for the Scots in the 22nd minute when Artem Dovbyk ran on Yarmolenko’s wonderful pass and past Porteous, but the experienced Hearts keeper was equal to the shot.

Craig Gordon was in impressive form in the goalless draw


There was drama minutes later when Greek referee Tasos Sidiropoulos awarded Scotland a penalty for a handball by Taras Stepanenko in the box after a Fraser shot but ruled him out after a VAR check.

In the 31st minute, Jack shot over the bar from 16 yards out after the Blues and Yellows struggled with another corner before the unmarked Stepanenko headed in from a Ukrainian corner at the other end.

Gordon had two good saves from Mudryk and Danylo Ihnatenko early in the second half.

Ukraine continued to be thwarted by the offside flag but they seemed more likely to break through when the skidding Illia Zabarnyi flicked a shot over the bar from close range.

In the 70th minute, as the rain continued, Stuart Armstrong, Ryan Christie and Stephen Kingsley came on for Taylor, Fraser and Jack before Lyndon Dykes replaced Adams.

Scotland had to fend off the mounting pressure from Ukraine – Stepanenko missed the goal – and they fought hard in four minutes of injury time to hold the point that has so many positive effects. Scotland beats Ukraine to a goalless draw to win Nations League group

Fry Electronics Team

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