Ukraine v Portugal: Battle for top spot continues.
 (Photo: Gualter Fatia - Getty/Images)

The race for the top place of group B will continue tomorrow night when Portugal met Ukraine at the Kyiv Olympic Stadium.

Ukraine are currently group leaders with 16 points, while Portugal are second - five points behind. Fernando Santo's acknowledged that he felt his players lost focus against Luxembourg and expects more from his side going into what could potentially be a decisive fixture.

With a game in hand and with nine possible points in play, the Portuguese men will be eager to come away with the first three points tomorrow evening.

Impressive form

Since the Ukranian legend, Andriy Shevchenko took over in the middle of 2016, the Cossacks have won 17 of their 30 fixtures, suffering just five defeats in the process.

Also, leaders of group B, Ukraine have recorded a total of five wins and one draw - with 13 goals combined and only conceding once.

Their draw was against the Portuguese side in the opener of the qualifying group stage ahead of Euro 2020. But since then, the Ukrainians have held an unbeaten record thus far.

Not being present at a World Cup since 2006, Shevchenko's side appears to be flourishing in the right direction.

Meanwhile, Santo's Portugal have only won their last three meetings in the group. Draws to Ukraine and Serbia could be a massive step-back should they fail to win the upcoming games, though they will fancy their chances of guaranteeing a positive result on Monday night.

The Selecao will welcome Lithuania at the Algarve for the reverse fixture, upon a 5-1 away win first time out. Then, they will travel to Luxembourg in which the victory will be important.

Team News

Shevchenko will have a fully fit squad at his disposal. 

West Ham's Andriy Yarmolenko and Manchester City's Oleksandr Zinchenko are both contenders to keep their spot from last Friday's 2-0 win against Lithuania.

Brazilian-born Junior Moraes has featured in five international games but is yet to find the back of the net, although he should still be expected to get some game time.

For Portugal, midfielder William Carvalho who sustained an injury before the 3-0 home win to Luxembourg on Friday through to injury is set to be unavailable. Experienced Danilo Pereira will provide cover in the midfield alongside Bruno Fernandes.

Centre-back Pepe should continue in the starting XI alongside Ruben Dias with a possible switch between Joao Moutinho for fellow Wolves' midfielder Ruben Neves.

No other changes are supposed to take place from the XI presented on Friday - Joao Felix and Bernardo Silva joining Cristiano Ronaldo in the final third of the field.

Head to head

Monday's clash will mark both teams' fourth meeting. Their first encounter dates back to 1996 where Portugal registered a 2-1 loss in the World Cup.

Consequently, Portugal overcame the Ukrainians in the reverse fixture that same year. While their most recent result ended in a 0-0 draw back in March.

Predicted line-ups:

UkrainePyatov; Bolbat, Krivtsov, Matviyenko, Sobol, Marlos, Malinovskiy, Stepanenko, Zinchenko, Yarmolenko, Junior Moraes.

Portugal: Patricio, Semedo, Dias, Pepe, Guerreiro, Neves, Danilo, Fernandes; Bernardo, Ronaldo, Felix.

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