Ukraine drops points in Belarus

MINSK - Ukraine lost valuable points in their World Cup qualifying campaign when they were held to a 0-0 draw by former Soviet neighbours Belarus on Wednesday.

A scoreless draw also ended any hopes for Belarus to qualify for their first major finals.

The home team, boosted by the return from injury of captain Aleksandr Hleb and leading striker Vitali Kutuzov from suspension, were denied on several occasions by Ukraine keeper Andriy Pyatov.

At the other end, the visitors rarely threatened the Belarus goal, with Ukraine captain Andriy Shevchenko having a quiet game before being substituted with two minutes remaining.

Both coaches said they were disappointed with the outcome.

"We were going for a win but just couldn't find the target. Unfortunately now we have to depend on other results going our way," Ukraine's Alexei Mikhailichenko told reporters.

His Belarus counterpart Bernd Stange said: "This result doesn't suit either team but we have nothing to be ashamed of.

"We have shown we can play with top teams but if Ukraine want to contend for the World Cup spot they must play better than they did tonight," added the German.

Ukraine, with 15 points from eight matches, are third in qualifying Group Six, behind Croatia who were playing group leaders England.