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Viktor Kovalenko brace helps Ukraine Under-21s edge out Northern Ireland

Published 17/11/2015

Accrington striker Shay McCartan opened the scoring for Northern Ireland Under-21s but they were ultimately overcome
Accrington striker Shay McCartan opened the scoring for Northern Ireland Under-21s but they were ultimately overcome

Viktor Kovalenko scored twice as Ukraine Under-21s came from behind to beat their Northern Irish opponents at Mourneview Park.

Accrington striker Shay McCartan had given Jim Magilton's side the lead in the 54th minute, cutting inside on his left foot and powering a fine shot past Bohdan Sarnavskiy.

But the hosts were unable to protect their lead, with Shakhtar Donetsk forward Kovalenko winning it for his side with a nine-minute brace.

He shot across Conor Brennan after connecting with a defence-splitting pass in the 64th minute, then produced a superb volley on the run in the 73rd minute.

Gavin Whyte saw a headed effort cleared off the line with the scores level at 1-1 but in the end it was t he quality of Kovalenko, a £10million-rated prospect once linked with Liverpool, that made the difference on the night.

Brennan had done well to preserve the stalemate during the first half, making a handful of saves during a busy 45 minutes.

Cameron Dummigan, the Northern Ireland full-back, saw a late attempted equaliser well saved by Sarnavskiy meaning Magilton's team lie bottom of the standings in their Under-21 European Championship qualifying group with a single point from five outings.

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