UEFA have rejected appeals from the Portugal and Luxembourg FAs over the eligibility of Ukraine striker Junior Moraes, ruling that his side broke no rules in using the striker in their opening Euro 2020 qualifying matches.
The Brazilian-born forward was called up to the squad last month after an impressive season with Shakhtar Donetsk, so far scoring 23 goals in 35 appearances in all competitions, and after being used as a substitute against Portugal, he featured from the start in the 2-1 victory over Luxembourg.
He failed to find the net on either occasion, but with Ukraine leading the group after taking four points from the two matches, there were fears the results could be reversed due to both opponents lodging protests against his eligibility as a Ukrainian citizen.
Portugal to get the 3 points from the Ukraine game. Because one of the players was ineligible to play. The player is originally Brazilian and hasn’t lived in Ukraine for a full 5 years. Apparently Luxembourg will get the win also. The player is JUNIOR MORAES. pic.twitter.com/pKJ7U2dzzh— Mánü〽️ (@Manuqr7) March 26, 2019
UEFA's Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Board deemed on Friday, however, that no regulations were broken in the use of Moraes, and the 32-year-old will be eligible for the remainder of their qualifying campaign.
The veteran has been one of Ukrainian football's most prolific marksmen this season despite enduring an indifferent last couple of seasons at Dinamo Kyiv.
He was allowed to leave on a free in the summer, but his goals since fired his new employers to a seven point advantage over his old side, with Shakhtar in danger of running away with the UPL.
He also impressed in Europe earlier in the season. He featured twice against Manchester City in the Champions League, scoring three times across Shakhtar's group matches, but a goal and two assists were not enough to help his side progress into the Europa League quarter-finals against Eintracht Frankfurt.
The form he is in, having him in the ranks of the national team will be a boost for their Euro 2020 qualification chances.