Source Pravda.Ru

WCup: Late Georgia equalizer stuns Ukraine, but Ukraine still qualifies

Ukraine conceded a late equalizer in a 1-1 tie with Georgia on Saturday, but still became the first European team to win a place in the 2006 World Cup when Turkey failed to beat Denmark.

Leading 1-0 on a 44th minute goal by Ruslan Rotan, Ukraine was on the verge of clinching its first berth in a major championship. But the celebrations were put on hold after Georgia's Georgi Gakhokidze scored in the 89th minute.

Star Ukrainian striker Andriy Shevchenko fired a free kick over the bar in the final minute.

Ukraine then waited for news from Istanbul, where Group 2 rival Turkey faced Denmark in a later game. If Turkey failed to win, then Ukraine would qualify.

That game also ended in dramatic fashion as Turkey, leading 2-1, gave up a 90th-minute equalizer by Soren Larsen for a final score of 2-2.

The result clinched Ukraine's first berth in a major championship, joining host Germany _ an automatic qualifier _ as the first European nation to make the 32-team tournament.

Ukraine has 24 points and second-place Turkey 17. Each team has two games left, but Turkey can't make up the seven-point difference.

Greece, which didn't play Saturday, has 15 points and, with three games left, has a mathematical chance of tying Ukraine on points. But Ukraine would still win the group because it secured more points in two head-to-matches against Greece _ a 1-0 win and 0-0 draw.

Ukraine hosts Turkey in Kiev on Wednesday.

The game in Tbilisi was played in an empty stadium. FIFA ordered Georgia to play its two remaining home qualifiers behind closed doors after fans threw fireworks onto the field during qualifiers against Greece and Turkey.

"We were under tough psychological pressure," Ukraine coach Oleh Blokhin said. "This is our first chance to make into the finals of the World Cup. We had chances in the game as did Georgia."

Thousands of fans watched the game on screens set up in central squares of Ukraine's biggest cities, including Kiev, Dnipropetrovsk, Lviv and Donetsk, AP Reported.