Scotland produced a goalless draw against Ukraine on Tuesday night allowing them to move atop the Uefa Nations League standings. After defeating both Ukraine and the Republic of Ireland earlier in the international break, Steve Clarke’s team entered the final match of their Nations League campaign requiring just a victory to take first place in League B1. The Tartan Army made things far harder for themselves than they should have and occasionally rode their luck in Clarke’s 40th game in command of Scotland (the same amount as Gordon Strachan and second only to Craig Brown, Andy Roxburgh, and Jock Stein).
Andriy Yarmolenko, a former West Ham United player, should have given Ukraine the lead in the first half after a cross from Mykhaylo Mudryk landed to him at close range, but he smacked the ball over the crossbar. Throughout the first 45 minutes, Ukraine applied pressure but Scotland resisted. Additionally, they had their chances as well. When a Ryan Fraser cross struck Taras Stepanenko in the box and the referee signaled to the spot, Scotland believed they had an opportunity to go in front. A VAR review, however, revealed that the handball penalty had been correctly overturned since the ball had actually struck the defender in the head.
“A performance that embodied guts, tenacity, and desire—basically everything that makes Scotland Scottish,” Leanne Crichton said after Scotland gained promotion to the top tier of the Nations League. “We had to rely on luck, but we were never in danger, and there were a lot of challenges to overcome when you consider the guys who are no longer on the team. It conveys a great deal about the squad. In the second half, the situation was much the same, with Ukraine enjoying the better opportunities as Scotland tried to cling on to the draw that would guarantee their progression.”
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