For a second-straight match at Euro 2020, Andriy Yarmolenko and Roman Yaremchuk scored goals for Ukraine. This time, it was good enough for a victory over North Macedonia on Thursday morning from Bucharest, Romania for a vital three points to keep Ukraine alive in a 2-1 victory in Gropu C play.
It ensures that Ukraine remains in play in the group, which also features the Netherlands and Austria who also have three points. Meanwhile, North Macedonia looks poised to bow out of its first-ever appearance at a major tournament.
Yarmolenko, who plays his club soccer at West Ham in England’s Premier League, opened the scoring in the 29th minute when Oleksandr Karavae worked it over to him following a corner for an easy finish inside the six-yard box.
Five minutes later, Yaremchuk doubled Ukraine’s advantage when a shot from the right of the box found the bottom opposite corner.
But North Macedonia clawed its way back into contention as Goran Pandev’s cheeky chip looked to bring the underdogs back within one, but it was called offside in the 39th minute.
They pulled one back in the 57th minute via the penalty spot when Ezgjan Alioski’s initial attempt was saved by Georgiy Bushchan, but the rebound came right back to the North Macedonian, who fired it into the back of the net.
Questionable officiating almost North Macedonia’s hopes in the 84th minute when referee Fernando Rapallini of Argentina pulled play back to award a penalty to Ukraine after it was deemed that Daniel Avramovski committed a handball while leaping and protecting his face while defending a free-kick. But Ruslan Malinovskiy’s penalty was saved away by Stole Dimitrievski to restore some justice.
North Macedonia, however, could not find the equalizer as they remain on zero points heading into the final round of group play.