MALTA U-21 1
UKRAINE U-21 4
Kukharevych 5, 32; Milovanov 79
R. Al Tumi, N. Pulis, J. Zerafa (84 M. Grima), A. Friggieri (85 A. Spiteri), O. Elouni (85 A. Zammit), J. Busuttil (85 J. Scicluna), M. Beerman, Z. Grech, C. Zammit Lonardelli (88 M. Ellul), G. Camilleri, A. Attard.
A. Trubin, O. Syrota, V. Baboglo, V. Dubinchak, R. Vantukh (86 I. Shevtsov), M. Kukharevych (64 I. Isaienko), S. Buletsa (86 Y. Yarmoliuk), O. Nazarenko (64 B. Milovanov), V. Brazhko, H. Sudakov (72 D. Kravchur), V. Yakimets.
Referee: Pavel Rejzek (Czech Republic).
Missed penalty: Isaienko (U) 89.
Ukraine scored two late goals for a comfortable 4-1 win over Malta in the penultimate match from Group 8 of the UEFA Under-21 qualifiers.
The visitors were clearly a better side early in the game but the locals improved, going close to scoring on more than one occasion towards the end of the first half.
On the restart, Malta reduced the gap but late in the game, Ukraine added another two goals apart from having a penalty saved. Unfortunately, mistakes from the Maltese defence contributed to two of the goals.
Coach Silvio Vella yesterday could field a more typical formation after COVID-19 issues forced him to name several new faces to the squad for the last game against Romania.
Players like Ayrton Attard, Jamie Zerafa and Nicholas Pulis were back while Aidan Friggieri, Myles Beerman and Jan Busuttil re-joined the squad after serving international duty with the senior side.
Ukraine held the initiative in the early stages, taking the lead after just five minutes.
Vladyslav Dubinchak advanced on the left flank before serving Mykola Kukharevych who hit low past Rashed Al Tumi from close range.
A Volodymyr Yakimets effort was partially saved by Al Tumi on 18 minutes and off the rebound, Oleksandr Nazarenko’s shot was blocked into a corner by the Malta goalkeeper.
Ukraine doubled the score on 32 minutes.
It was a blunder by Pulis who stood just outside the area and tried to serve the goalkeeper without seeing Kukharevych just in front of Al Tumi, therefore having the easiest of jobs in placing the ball at the back of the net.
Five minutes from the end of the first half, Malta replied with a fine Jan Busuttil effort from the edge of the area that hit the crossbar and off the rebound Aidan Friggieri had a shot blocked by a defender.
Four minutes later, goalkeeper Anatolii Trubin passed the ball to Olkesandr Syrota who, when pressed by Busuttil, returned the pass to the goalkeeper and Trubin cleared off the line with particular difficulty.
Two minutes in the second half, Malta pulled one back.
Heorhii Sudakov lost possession to Ayrton Attard who sent Omar Elouni through and the Gżira forward dashed past Syrota and Baboglo and entered the area before hitting low past goalkeeper Trubin.
Eleven minutes from time, Ukraine went 3-1 ahead. Vantukh delivered a cross from the left and substitute Bogan Milovanov flicked the ball past Al Tumi.
Ukraine could have added another on 89 minutes when Pulis floored Ievgeni Isaienko inside the area; referee Pavel Rejzek ordered a penaly but Isaienko’s effort from the penalty spot was neutralised by Al Tumi.
However three minutes in added time, they were not to be denied.
Al Tumi rushed out of the area in an attempt to halt Ievgenii Shevtsov’s run on the right flank but the latter rounded the goalkeeper and hit home with an angled shot from outside the area.