LVIV (Reuters)–Defender Serhiy Fyodorov scored in the third minute of injury time to give Ukraine a precious 4-3 home win over Armenia in their Euro 2004 Group Six qualifier on Saturday.
The result moves Ukraine–who twice came from behind during the match–to within a point of group leaders–Spain who were playing Greece later on Saturday.
Armenia remain fourth on four points and just about out of contention.
The visiting side opened the scoring after 13 minutes when Oleg Luzhny brought down Armenian striker Arman Karamyan and Albert Sarkisyan converted the resulting penalty.
Olexander Gorshkov equalized in the 28th with a header from AC Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko’s corner and Shevchenko then glanced a shot against the bar from a tight angle.
Sarkisyan restored Armenia’s lead with a piledriver from some 40 meters which caught Dmytro Shutkov napping five minutes into the second half.
But Shevchenko–who was presented with a painted portrait before the game by Ukrainian sports’ minister Nikolay Kostenko and football federation president Hrigory Surkis to mark his achievement in winning the European Cup with AC Milan–rattled in two goals in five minutes to give his side a 3-2 lead.
After 65 minutes he equalised with a penalty and then beat Roman Berezovsky again–only for Artur Petrosyan to silence the home crowd as he leveled for the visitors after 74 minutes.
But Fyodorov’s last-gasp goal sent them wild and took his team to nine points from five games.
Spain are on 10 from four with Greece on six from four before their meeting.
Ukraine coach Leonid Buryak was full of praise for Shevchenko–who scored the decisive penalty for Milan in Manchester.
"It was one of his best matches of the campaign,” he said.
"This was a hard season for him from the start–but he managed to get better.”
Buryak insisted his side can qualify for next year’s finals in Portugal–but said they would have to defend better.
"We could have played better in defense and it wasn’t absolutely necessary to concede all the three goals,” he said.
"We are now ready to fight for the place in Euro 2004 though–the win gave us a morale boost–we showed a great will to win.”
Armenia’s Romanian coach Mihai Stoichita said his team would fight until the end of the campaign despite having virtually no chance of qualifying.
"Our team hasn’t lost the spirit and we are determined to play our best football in the next matches,” he said.