Kiev, Sep 6 (IANS) Ukraine started their football World Cup 2018 qualifying campaign with a 1-1 home draw with Iceland at the Olympic stadium here.
Iceland found the lead on Monday night via a strike from Alfred Finnbogason in the fifth minute. Andriy Yarmolenko scored the equaliser for Ukraine in the 49th minute.
Eugene Konoplyanka squandered the golden opportunity to give his team a lead, missing the penalty in the 83rd minute.
The game in Group I was held without a single spectator in the 70,050-seat stadium as Ukrainian fans were punished for their racist behaviour during the World Cup 2014 qualifier against San Marino, reports Xinhua.
Despite the absence of fans, the two teams played quite strongly, trying to impress their debutant chief coaches — Andriy Shevchenko and Heimir Hallgrimsson.
At the start, the visitors appeared to be more fortunate in terms of converting the chances as Finnbogason found a gap inside Ukraine’s defensive line just five minutes into the game, scoring an opener.
Yarmolenko equalised for Ukraine four minutes before the break to bring the hosts on level terms.
Later, Konoplyanka missed the penalty in the 83rd minute as the match ended in a stalemate.
Ukraine and Iceland play in the qualification group for World Cup 2018 with Croatia, Turkey, Finland and the new FIFA member Kosovo.