Ukraine took a large stride toward qualifying for the European Championship next year by beating Slovenia 2–0 in a first-leg playoff on Saturday.
LVIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine took a large stride toward qualifying for the European Championship next year by beating Slovenia 2–0 in a first-leg playoff on Saturday.
The second leg is on Tuesday.
Ukraine dominated in front of a passionate home crowd as Slovenia failed to register a single shot on target, its narrow formation struggling to cope with Ukraine star wingers Yevhen Konoplyanka and Andriy Yarmolenko.
Yarmolenko tormented Slovenia on the right flank, and got his reward with the opening goal late in the first half, collecting the ball inside the box and dummying away from two defenders before shooting past goalkeeper Samir Hamdanovic.
Yevhen Seleznyov doubled the lead soon after halftime with a simple finish at the far post to a perfect Artyom Fedetskiy cross.
Selezynov could easily have scored a third 15 minutes later but his low shot hit the post and was hooked away by Bojan Jokic.
In the first half, Denys Harmash caused problems for Slovenia, one header narrowly missing the target and another forcing a save from Hamdanovic, who was also in acrobatic form later on to stop a shot from Serhiy Rybalka.
Late on, Konoplyanka worked his way into the box with skill but the finish was lacking as he shot wide.