Glasgow: Artem Dovbyk’s header in the 121st minute sent Ukraine into a Euro 2020 quarter-final clash with England on Saturday, beating Sweden 2-1 after extra time in Glasgow.
Ukraine moved up to the round of 16 despite scoring just three points in the group stage, qualifying in part because Sweden beat Poland and finished at the top of Group E ahead of Spain.
But Andriy Shevchenko’s side were determined to prove they deserved their place in the knockout stage when Oleksandr Zinchenko put them ahead in the early stages.
Emil Forsberg’s deflected shot led Sweden to an equalizer before half-time and the RB Leipzig midfielder hit the post twice in the second half.
However, a red card for Marcus Danielson in the 9th minute of extra time left Sweden awaiting penalties until Dovbyk hooked Zinchenko’s inviting cross to spark wild party scenes among the small group of Ukrainian fans at the Hampden Park.
Shevchenko said before the game that his team had already achieved their goal by making their way into the group.
But the former AC Milan striker got the reaction he wanted after a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Austria in the last group match with a quick start.
Swede Robin Olsen was forced into the first save to deny Roman Yaremchuk after being charged by the excellent Andriy Yarmolenko.
The West Ham United winger was his country’s driving force throughout the tournament, scoring or assisting in all but two of the six goals.
Yarmolenko’s tantalizing cross with the outside left foot was kind to Zinchenko in the 27th minute and the Manchester City man punched a low shot that had too much power for Olsen.
That was the first time Sweden were at a disadvantage throughout the tournament, but Janne Andersson’s men answered questions about chasing a match well after their defensive discipline took hold in the group stage.
Forsberg was just as influential for Sweden as Yarmolenko for Ukraine and equalized two minutes before half-time with his fourth goal of the tournament.
Opportunities came and went for both sides as a fun second half raged from end to end.
Yarmolenko serves Serhiy Sydorchuk to dunk into the post, but Sweden pose the biggest threat.
Forsberg hits the post twice, putting a shot into the base of the post before a more powerful shot from the edge of the area is blocked off the crossbar.
Meanwhile, Georgiy Bushchan made a splendid save to overturn Dejan Kulusevski’s diving shot.
Ukraine survived to take the match into extra time and had a golden opportunity to reach the quarter-finals of a major tournament for the second time as an independent nation when Sweden was reduced to 10 men.
Danielson wins the ball but continues with a dangerous intervention on Artem Besedin that forces the Dynamo Kiev forward to go out with an injury.
Yarmolenko also had to be replaced midway through extra time in what will be a concern for Shevchenko if Ukraine has any chance of shocking England in Rome.
But his replacement Dovbyk was the hero, as he picked the perfect moment to score his first international goal.