UPL PREDICTOR MATCHDAY 11
It has been quite the eye opener in the Ukrainian football world this past week. The UPL has welcomed two new managers to its ranks. One is all too familiar to Ukraine’s top division and the other is making his first steps into the management career ladder. Vyacheslav Grozny returns to action as new manager of Arsenal Kyiv after Ravanelli’s departure. Grozny could be equated to the likes of Big Sam or Harry Redknapp, in terms of his favourable press image and press conference memorability.His results on the other hand, especially in his most recent previous roles, have not been wholly successful.
Arsenal Kyiv may improve under him but it still seems destined that they will head back down to the Persha Liha once the season is over. The second manager to be unveiled this week is Vyacheslav Shevchuk. He’s taken the Olimpik job after Roman Sanzhar, at the club since 2011, stepped down. The former Shakhtar and Ukraine NT defender takes his first full time role in the coaching sphere and he will be keen to make a big first impression against Dynamo Kyiv.
Last time out, Karpaty succumbed at home to the sheer might of Shakhtar, as the visitors maintained their lead at the top. Dynamo narrowly edged out city rivals Arsenal Kyiv to make it 3 UPL wins on the trot. Oleksandriya also came on top against Olimpik Donetsk, having scored a last minute winner in a 3-2 victory. They remain third in the table. Elsewhere, Vorskla who have been on serious form in the UPL, continued that spate with a win away to a dismal Desna side.
In midweek, European action called upon the three Ukrainian representatives to play in the second matchday of group stage fixtures. All three sides will have hoped that the games didn’t happen. Shakhtar surrendered a 2-0 lead against Lyon in an empty stadium, to draw 2-2. A point is a point I guess…
In the Europa League, Vorskla led Sporting Lisbon 1-0 for 90 minutes. It was once time had almost run out that Vorskla capitulated and conceded 2 in 2 minutes. Zero points so far. Dynamo Kyiv were disgraceful. Besedin returned to the starting line up against Jablonec and as you’ve guessed; he didn’t score again. Goals were being created in a quick paced first half, Dynamo also went 2-0 up inside 15 mins. Jablonec rallied back and a silly mistake from Pivaric led to the equalizing goal.
All three sides need to buck up for the next two games. It really will be make or break for Ukrainian clubs vying to get a knockout round in the spring. Goals or bust!
Andrew Todos of Zorya Londonsk Weekly will be making predictions for every UPL game this season, against a variety of guests.
Our eleventh guests of the 2018 – 19 season is Donetsk Way’s Stepan ‘Styopa’ Luczka. Stepan originally hails from Leicester, but has lived in Coventry for the majority of his life. He told us how he used to be a season ticket holder at ‘Cov City’, so he’s naturally a sky blue fan. But after living in Luton for the last seven and a half years, he also keeps an eye out for Luton Town, and goes to watch games from time to time.
|Stepan (2nd from R) with some familiar faces|
He also took up supporting Leicester City too but that was coincidentally during their title winning season and has since become disconnected with the club one more. On the topic of Ukrainian teams, he supports, Stepan explained that he liked to see them all do well when competing in Europe, but his Ukrainian footballing soft spot lies with Karpaty Lviv.
Stepan is well known in the Ukrainian community in Britain and across Europe too due to his involvement in the British Ukrainian football group ‘Donetsk Way’ and also for his work in running the UK Ukrainian Sports Supporters Club (UKUSSC).
Stepan is the second member from Donetsk Way to take part in our UPL Predictor this season. Styopa will be aiming to try and better the score of close friend Petro Chymera, who accumulated 20 points in Matchday 3. We asked Stepan to refresh the minds of those who know and to introduce any new people to Donetsk Way by explaining who they are and what they do.
|Donetsk Way (L-R) Dre Luczka, Stepan Luczka, Petro
Chymera & Ewhen Chymera
“Donetsk Way was set up in 2012 with the 4 of us (Ewhen, Petro, Dre & me) when we went on our Road Trip across Europe for Euro 2012. From then its evolved into writing blogs about our various footie trips (except for Dre who goes on trips, then doesn’t blog about it – leaving us to question, does he really go on football trips…? Hahahaha). As well as player profiles & other blogs all relating to everything Ukrainian football.” You will be able to find links to all the Donetsk Way social media pages and their website below.
U.K. UKRAINIAN SPORTS SUPPORTERS CLUB
Stepan also helps to run the UKUSSC; a sporting organisation that aims to sell tickets through official channels (via clubs & their official partners) for Ukrainian fans wanting to go and support Ukrainian teams playing in the UK. We also asked him to elaborate on the background of the Supporters Club and what it’s like behind the scenes from the obtaining of tickets to the distribution process.
“UKUSSC was set up in 2008 by Martyn Chymera. Previous to this, there was no official channel of getting tickets to go to matches in the UK. That said I was still young at the time, and no idea how but always ended up getting tickets somehow.”
Stepan continued, “Martyn’s idea was to create an organisation that allowed one easy place for supporters to get tickets to matches.”
Styopa is now involved is a small committee that includes 9 volunteers. In relation to the ticket acquiring process, Stepan explains that the process in general is now quite straightforward as they have now have a good amount of suitable contacts. However, he admits that “prior to having contacts it was always a lot of work in contacting the particular club, advising them on who we are, then liaising with the UK team and tying everything up which sometimes proved a tad difficult.”
In terms of the ticket selling stage, Stepan told us “We have a database of email, phone numbers & more recently social media accounts, where we advertise & publish info. People follow the steps and obtain tickets via post usually with 1 week to go until match day. We do this, so none of us have to miss the game ourselves (as has happened in the past) when waiting for last minute stragglers.
The Sports Supporters Club’s events are usually football related. Clubs dealt with in the past: Dynamo Kyiv, Shakhtar Donetsk, Zorya Luhansk, AJ – Fury (the fight that never happened) and official recognition from FFU.
The UKUSCC has currently opened ticket sales for the UEFA Champions League Group stage match between Manchester City – Shakhtar Donetsk that is happening on 7th November 2018 at the Etihad Stadium. In order to secure your own tickets, the UKUSSC Facebook page for more information, a link to which you can find below.
UKRAINIAN FOOTBALL HOME & AWAY
With it being well known that Stepan has been to countless games over the years featuring Ukrainian teams, we wanted to know whether there were any particular games that stood out for him over his supporting period.
“There have been a lot of games over the years! It’s difficult to pick one stand out moment, as for me it’s not just about the football. It’s the whole trip of being away, beers, travelling and having a laugh with mates.” We can certainly vouch for this!
Stepan continued, “However, footballing wise; Being at both Europa League / UEFA Cup finals were great experiences! Dnipro reaching the Europa League final in Warsaw, and Shakhtar winning in Istanbul. Ukraine v Spain in WC 2006 too is a memorable one. Yes, Ukraine got spanked, but it was the National Team’s first ever match at a WC! Another fond memory was being at Ukraine v Belarus for a WC 2010 Qualifier in Lviv. There are many stories from the trip, but I was sat in with the ultras for the match, and we were right behind the goal where Sheva scored. Unbelievable scenes & atmosphere.”
Aside from his memories of live games we also wanted to find out about any other fond experiences that Stepan had relating to Ukrainian football in general.
|Alex Glyvynskyy (Bottom row, 2nd from left)|
“Following the Ukraine NT and other Ukrainian football teams has enabled me to make a lot of friends through football; such as Kostyantyn Andriyuk – football journo and Alex Glyvynskyy – press officer at the FFU.”
“Other memorable experiences include getting press access to a Zbirna closed training session during Euro 2016 where Yevhen Konoplyanka called me a kozak… It’s a true story!” Stepan also ranks meeting the entire Ukraine team in 2012 highly. “They flew into Luton airport when they faced England at Wembley in a match famous for Konoplyanka’s screamer.”
UPL FANTASY FOOTBALL CHAMPION
With Stepan being the reigning UPL Fantasy Football Donetsk Way league champion, we wanted to know what he lay his success down to. Styopa couldn’t contain his laughter at being asked such a question. He replied “Hahahahahahahahhahaha that’s a fantastic question!?!?!? Depending on who you speak to (remaining flids of Donetsk Way) last season was void, so I am not the current champion, so I’m glad for your recognition. That sort of behaviour wants me to join Zorya Londonsk, rather than be associated with them boys at Donetsk Way.”
In relation to his success Stepan elaborated “I lay down my success to total, and nothing else but pure football knowledge. Others may say that my success is purely down to which players are on fire (Team of the week) when choosing the team. I’ll let you decide which one you think is true…….” We’ll definitely be going with the latter!
THOUGHTS ON THE CURRENT UKRAINIAN FOOTBALL SEASON
Finally, ahead of the predictions, we needed to find out about whether Stepan has been keeping in touch with much Ukrainian football this season and whether any clubs or players had particularly stood out for him!
Stepan admitted, “Nowhere near as much as I would have liked to in all honesty. Can’t comment on players, but good to see Oleksandriya up amongst the ‘big boys’. Hopefully they can last up there all season. However, generally speaking Ukrainian football is in a bit of a shambolic state at the moment which is never good to see.”
STEPAN LUCZKA’S SOCIAL LINKS:
A correct result (WIN / DRAW/ DEFEAT) is worth 10 points. The exact score earns an extra 40 points.
Mariupol v Karpaty Lviv
Todos’ prediction:After last week’s humiliation at the hands of Shakhtar, Karpaty will want to get back to winning ways. Performances have waned since the win over Dynamo, with Marian Shved looking to be the only creative and goal scoring outlet in the side. Mariupol are no pushovers but will just be overwhelmed in the end. Heart over head in this one. 1-2
Stepan’s prediction: A goal apiece and a point apiece.1-1
RESULT: 1-1: BORYACHUK (52′) / HUTSULIAK (13′)
Oleksandriya v Chornomorets Odesa
Todos’ prediction:Oleksandriya grabbed their first win since before the last international break last weekend. The last minute winner after coming from behind will buoy the players to start performing from the off. Volodymyr Sharan’s side will secure the points in this one. 2-1
Stepan’s prediction: Oleksandriya to hold their position amongst the top three with a win. 2-0
RESULT: 3-2 : KOVALETS (44′), SHASTAL (55′), BANADA (70′) / HRACHEV (18′), TATARKOV (80′)
FC Lviv v Desna Chernihiv
Todos’ prediction:Neither side has had a particularly great season so far. This has draw written all over it. However, whilst a second 0-0 for Lviv was tempting. A score draw bodes well for both. 1-1
Stepan’s prediction: Desna to pick up three points on the road. 1-2
RESULT: 1-3: DUARTE (52′) / A.FAVOROV (4′ & 87′), FILLIPOV (28′)
Dynamo Kyiv v Olimpik Donetsk
Todos’ prediction:After the shambles that was the Europa league capitulation in the Czech Republic, Dynamo will want to ware off any European hangovers with a win. However, they face an Olimpik Donetsk side newly managed by Slava Shevchuk and his assistant, ex – Dynamo player, Ruslan Rotan. Can definitely see another upset for Dynamo in this one. 1-1
Stepan’s prediction:Dynamo to just edge it. 2-1
RESULT: 1-0 : MOROZYUK (30′)
Shakhtar Donetsk v Zorya Luhansk
Todos’ prediction: Having seen Shakhtar play live last week in Lviv, they really are a class above the rest of the teams in the UPL. They didn’t have that many chances against Karpaty but converted a majority of the ones they got. Zorya are in a bit of a recent slump and that will continue in Kharkiv. 3-0
Stepan’s prediction: Shakhtar will take away all three points in this one. 2-0
RESULT: 1-1: J.MORAES (39′) / KHARATIN (49′)
Vorskla Poltava v Arsenal Kyiv
Todos’ prediction: The arrival of legendary Ukrainian football coach Vyacheslav Grozny will not be enough to save Arsenal Kyiv from the drop this season and his tenure will not get off to the best of starts. Vorskla will be wanting to put their last minute Europa League heartbreak aside and continue their hot winning form in the UPL. 2-0
Stepan’s prediction:A comfortable win for the Green and Whites. 2-0
RESULT: 0-2: HRYN (72′ & 79′)
MATCHDAY 11 – H2H WINNER:
FOLLOW ZORYA LONDONSK WEEKLY ON SOCIAL MEDIA:
Total scores after week 10
Todos v Guests