Ireland’s faint hopes of achieving Stephen Kenny’s pre-campaign target for topping their Nations League group has been extinguished with two games to play.
For such a remote scenario to arise, Ukraine had to slip-up against an Armenian side that had beaten Ireland in the opening game.
Oleksandr Petrakov changed his entire team from the one beaten 3-0 by Scotland on Wednesday, a first in the history of the Ukrainian association, but they possessed the power to blow away the minnows in their backyard.
Oleksandr Tymchuk took just 22 minutes to open the scoring, before Oleksandr Zubkov grabbed the second just before the hour mark.
Striker Artem Dovbyk bagged two in the final half hour with Danylo Ihnatenko completing the rout.
That win leapfrogs Ukraine Scotland into first place on 10 points, beyond the reach of Ireland, who have four points from their four games.
Second is the best Ireland can finish at this stage but that hinges on not just extracting full points from tonight’s game against Scotland and at home to Armenia on Tuesday but rely on Scotland failing to beat Ukraine on the same day.
Anything other than a victory at Hampden Park will descend Ireland’s final game at home to Armenia into a relegation battle.