Ukraine 2-0 Scotland

Scotland suffered their first defeat of the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign with a 2-0 reverse in Ukraine.

Chelsea forward Andriy Shevchenko converted from the penalty spot late on, after Olexander Kucher had given the home side the lead.

In a further blow for the Scots, a red card for Steven Pressley rules him out of the next match against Georgia, along with James McFadden and Darren Fletcher who both picked up their second bookings of the campaign.

Scotland headed into the game still basking in the glow of their triumph over France at Hampden Park on Saturday and determined to continue their impressive start to the qualifying campaign.

Scotland headed into the game still basking in the glow of their triumph over France at Hampden Park on Saturday and determined to continue their impressive start to the qualifying campaign.

Manager Walter Smith admitted he was loathe to change a winning team but Christian Dailly's suspension meant he was forced to tinker with his line-up.

That meant Robbie Neilson was handed his first Scotland cap, filling the void left by Dailly, while Kenny Miller was also drafted back into the team after serving his ban against the French.

Ukraine were also able to make a significant change to the side who had lost in Italy at the weekend, with the talismanic Shevchenko recovering from the virus which kept him out of the match in Rome.

When the teams were read out by the PA announcer in the imposing 82,000-capacity Olympic Stadium, the biggest cheer was reserved for the Chelsea forward.

And Shevchenko wasted no time in displaying his skills when he shrugged off his marker and set up Oleg Gusev for a shot but his effort was cleared by Pressley.

There was an early blow for Scotland when McFadden picked up a booking for a foul on Maxim Kalinichenko after 10 minutes, ruling him out of the qualifier against Georgia.

Craig Gordon was called into action when Anatoliy Tymoschuk's cross was met by Maxim Kalinichenko but the Scotland goalkeeper managed to hold the header.

Scotland's first real chance came when Paul Hartley released Fletcher down the right flank and he tried to cut into the path of Kenny Miller in front of goal but the danger was cleared by a yellow jersey.

There was more misery for the Scots when Fletcher picked up a yellow card for a challenge on Tymoschuk, meaning he also misses the Georgia match.

Ukraine could have taken the lead soon after when Viacheslav Sviderskiy set up Kalinichenko for the header but he nodded just over.

Shevchenko then delivered the ball to the feet of Sviderskiy but he connected awkwardly and the shot was comfortably held by Gordon.

It was proving to be a busy night for the Swedish referee Martin Hansson when he again produced the yellow card, this time for Kucher's crude challenge on Miller.

Scotland had a chance to put their hosts under pressure when McFadden was brought down just outside the box shortly before the break.

Graham Alexander took the free-kick and set up Barry Ferguson for the shot but he screwed his effort wide.

Gordon then had to pull of a decent save to block Andriy Voronin's effort at the near post after he had taken advantage of a mistake by Pressley.

Ukraine were unfortunate not to take the lead just two minutes after the restart.

Shevchenko squeezed the ball under the body of Gordon, which looked like trickling over the line but hit the post instead.

The danger was cleared as the Scots breathed a sigh of relief.

Scotland were under pressure again when Hartley hauled down Andriy Nesmachniy 20 yards out but Ukraine failed to capitalise on the free-kick when Kalinichenko blasted well over.

Nesmachniy then tried his luck with a thunderous, speculative strike, which cannoned off Gary Caldwell and over the crossbar.

Ukraine's hard work eventually paid off when they opened the scoring in the 60th minute.

Shevchenko floated a free-kick into the box and McFadden's attempted clearance came off Sviderskiy and broke to Kucher, who drilled low into the net.

Scotland could have levelled almost immediately when Miller's cross-come-shot bounced off the back post.

With just under 20 minutes to go, Kris Boyd replaced McFadden, while Ukraine swapped Kalinichenko for Andriy Vorobey.

Scotland should have clawed themselves level when Neilson fed Miller only for the Celtic striker to head wide of a gaping goal from six yards.

Instead, it all went wrong for the Scots in the final minutes of the game when Pressley saw red for tripping Shevchenko when he was clear on goal with just four minutes to go, although Caldwell's presence suggested the decision was harsh.

The referee then awarded a dubious penalty for a Neilson challenge on Shevchenko, who converted from the spot in the 90th minute.

Nesmachniy, Sviderskiy, Kucher, Rusol
Tymoschuk, Shelayev, Gusev (Milevskiy 62),Kalinichenko (Vorobey 76)
Shevchenko, Voronin (Shershun 90).
Subs Not Used: Shust, Rykun, Nazarenko, Gay.
Booked: Kucher.
Goals: Kucher 60, Shevchenko 90 pen.
Neilson (McManus 89), Weir, Pressley,Graham Alexander
Caldwell, Ferguson, Fletcher, Hartley
Miller, McFadden (Boyd 73).
Subs Not Used: Neil Alexander, McCulloch, Teale, Severin, Brown.
Booked: McFadden, Fletcher, Neilson.
Sent Off: Pressley (86).
Ref: Martin Hansson (Sweden).

Att: 55,000


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