ON THE BRINK: UPL MATCHDAY PREDICTOR 29 2018/19

ON THE BRINK: 
MATCHDAY 29
THE UKRAINIAN FOOTBALL ROUND UP:
On a weekend where the English Premier League came to a satisfying crescendo, the UPL was slogging out it’s 28thgame week with a number of weeks left to go.
On the topic of the Premier League, it should be mentioned that Ukraine international and now first choice Left Back at the Etihad; Oleksandr Zinchenko picked up his second league title in sky blue colours. He travels to Wembley today with his side for the second time this season, aiming to achieve the first ever domestic treble in the English men’s game! 
Across the water, another Ukraine key man, Ruslan Malinovskyi lifted the title for Belgium’s Genk, their first for 8 years. Ukrainians are seriously showcasing their talents abroad to great effect and this can only mean good things for the future of the national team as well!
Back to the UPL, we kicked off with the Championship group. Mariupol started the matchday by welcoming FC Lviv to the Azov coast. Mariupol duly obliged in taking three points off the now given up Lviv team in a 2-0 victory. The hosts are now level on points with Zorya and this will likely be the focus of the remaining fixtures of the season within this ‘top tier’ as the two battle for a higher qualifying round berth.
Zorya Luhansk followed this game up with a positive but last gasp 1-1 draw against a now ‘nothing to play for’ Dynamo side. This result meant that the Luhanchany maintain their slim hopes of a 3rdplace spot but also remain level with direct 4thplace challengers Mariupol.
In the other game, Shakhtar all but secured the title with a 2-1 win over Oleksandriya, that proved slightly more difficult than expected. Junior Moraes once more notching a goal as extends his lead at the top of the goal scoring charts.
In the Relegation group, things are still delicately poised for interesting viewing ahead of the season’s end. Arsenal opened the Sunday games with Chornomorets visiting. This was a massive six pointer in the relegation dog fight, which no side ended up taking an advantage from. The entertaining end to end game finished 3-3, as Arsenal remained three points off the bottom but three points from safety. Chornomorets have it all to do.

Desna ensured themselves another victory and the right to remain top of the ‘Second half of the table’ with a 2-1 win over Olimpik, whilst Vorskla failed to match this result as they played out a 1-1 draw with usual kryptonite Karpaty. Ghosts may have been partially exorcised but the result continues to pile the pressure on Karpaty who remain within the Relegation Play Off spots.

Also worthy of note was the Ukrainian Cup Final that took place in midweek. Second division Inhulets Petrove went in as underdogs against Shakhtar and were schooled. The Miners won 4-0 to pick up their 13th Ukrainian Cup Trophy and now have the double in their sights!
PREDICTOR TIME
A correct result (WIN / DRAW/ DEFEAT) is worth 10 points. The exact score earns an extra 40 points.
SATURDAY


Dynamo Kyiv v Mariupol
Todos’ prediction:The opening fixture of Matchday 29 sees ‘nothing to play for’ Dynamo host a European spot chasing Mariupol.
It’s already likely that Mariupol have secured a qualifying spot but as their experience at the start of this season fared, having to start a round earlier is not the most favourable.
Hence the Azov side will be keen to get a result in Kyiv to overtake Zorya in a week where their rivals are facing top of the league. It’s going to be an interesting match up, with Dynamo not too motivated but I still see Mariupol falling short of all three points as they’re the visitors. A score draw will have to suffice.1-1
RESULT: TBC

Vorskla Poltava v Arsenal Kyiv
Todos’ prediction: Two sides meet chasing different end of season goals. The hosts are still in with a shout of the 7th place trophy with their form picking up in recent weeks as manager Kosovskyi has finally found his groove; picking up consistent draws.
Arsenal on the other hand will be feeling the pressure as the clock ticks down for them to escape the relegation play off places.
Just three points off bottom, but 3 points from safety in the other direction, they will be wanting to complete the extraordinary turnaround of a season where it looked like they were nailed on for the drop!
Vakulenko will be pivotal as usual and with just that bit more to play for, the visitors will get another unprecedented victory.1-2
RESULT: TBC
Karpaty Lviv v Desna Chernihiv
Todos’ prediction: Here’s another key matchup in the Relegation Group. Karpaty will be desperate to get out of the play off spots despite their recent performances not reiterating this.
With Shved permanently back at Celtic, the rest of the team will need to step up. Desna have been dangerous this season and are looking like the favourites to claim the Best of the Rest silverware in their debut top flight season.
Karpaty have the players but it seems there’s some serious gelling and mental strength problems within the side and it looks like they will lose again.1-3
RESULT: TBC
Olimpik Donetsk v Chornomorets Odesa
Todos’ prediction: Bottom of the league Odesa travel to Kyiv for the second week in a row in what is a must win game.
Time is running out for the Black Sea club. They will need to continue with the ‘never say die attitude’, that earns them a draw last week, as they take on an Olimpik side that has finally found its goal scoring boots.
Odesa striker Vilhjamsson will be aiming to be instrumental once more as will the Olimpik forwards. However, both just don’t seem to be able to gain a serious grip of leads in matches gone by. A score draw looks like a high possibility.1-1
RESULT: TBC
SUNDAY
Oleksandriya v FC Lviv
Todos’ prediction:Oleksandriya are on the brink of securing their Europa League group stage spot after the Cup Final saw Inhulets lose. In reality, they rely more on Zorya slipping up in one of the last 4 matches than needing themselves to produce a winning run. 
Nonetheless, Oleksandriya host Champions Group ‘here for the riders’ FC Lviv as they look to put their European status beyond doubt. They require a minimum of a point as long as Zorya fail to beat Shakhtar in the later game on Sunday. It is likely they will get a comprehensive victory as FC Lviv have truly unraveled since the league split in two. 
Lviv have been unable to score in any frequency and their defence has been breached far too often. Blavatskyi’s inexperience and lack of any UPL predigree has shown. The points to stay at home in this one. 2-0
RESULT: TBC


Zorya Luhansk v Shakhtar Donetsk
Todos’ prediction:By the time this game is played, it may already be mathematically impossible for Dynamo to catch Shakhtar. If Dynamo fail to best Mariupol, then this fixture will not be as pivotal in securing the ‘2 more points’ required to secure the title. However, taking other games out of the equation, Shakhtar will be wanting to win the league in style and in commanding fashion, especially against their Donbas neighbours. 
Youngsters are heavily expected to be given further run outs as the season winds down, but this does not mean that the Miners are in any way weakening their starting squad. Brazilian winter recruits, Tete and Antonio alongside Israeli star Solomon all showcased fans what the future has to bring for the club as they demonstrated their abilities in the Cup final. 
It would be against all odds for Zorya to put up a fight in this one and as such there seems to be only one way that this game is going in.  0-2
RESULT: TBC
MATCHDAY 29 FINAL SCORE: TBC
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