Ukrainian Football Round Up

After a fairly quiet week last time out the UPL returned to normal with six fixtures and some surprising results. It was goals galore across the league!

Vorskla kicked us off on Ukrainian Independence Day with an inspired 3-0 win away to Kolos! Full back Ihor Perduta somehow found himself in the middle of the box on two occasions and got himself a brace.

Kolos were compounded to more misery as elusive striker Yuri Kolomoyets grabbed a goal for the second consecutive game. Converted full back into wide midfielder Artur has been impressive this season since Kosovsky moved the player up the pitch!

In one of the shocks of the round, Oleksandriya were pummelled 3-0 themselves at home! Desna were the victors at the Nika, as three second half goals from Favorov, Kyzyk and Fillipov ensured Desna moved up to second in the table on goal difference!

Miroshnichenko being sent off at the start of the second half didn’t help Oleksandriya. The defender looks to be reenacting performances from his Karpaty days already!

Mykhaylychenko’s first game in charge (of his second spell) didn’t mark a distinct change from his predecessor, Khatskevich. Dynamo still looked largely disorganised and lacking in attacking game plan.

After a drab goalless first half, it was Olimpik, bottom of the league and on zero points, who opened the scoring with a nice counter attacking move. Dynamo were unable to close it down and Politylo got the first goal of the game.

Dynamo needed a bit of Viktor Tsyhankov brilliance to rescue them from embarrassment. His Yarmolenko-esque cut in and shot from the right hand side of the box flew into the far corner. Other than that, Dynamo pushed and even when Olimpik were reduced to 10 men were unable to break the side down.

A lack of clinical finishing still affects the side deeply, as Gerson pushes on for his second goal in a Dynamo shirt. To make matters worse, Verbic got sent off in the final ten minutes and will now miss a key game against second spot rivals, Zorya Luhansk this week! Improvements are needed, but it doesn’t look too promising from Mykhaylychenko’s opening game… Many fans are already expecting more of the same as the past few seasons!

In a tightly fought affair in Lviv, Zorya got themselves a narrow 1-0 win against Karpaty. Skripnyk rested a few players with his Europa League Play off in mind and Pylyp Budkivsky got his first of the season. The out of form striker will be relieved that he is finally off the mark.

Onto Zorya’s European exploits and the Luhansk side unfortunately fell at the final hurdle. They just didn’t have enough to get the better of Espanyol. After losing the first leg 3-1, there was still hope. However, when Facundo Ferrerya opened the scoring to get his 11th career goal versus Zorya, things looked all over.

Lednev equalised to momentarily spur some hope but it was short lived. Vargas put the visitors in front again before second half sub Rusyn made it 2-2. But it was ultimately too little too late. Zorya can now turn their full attention to challenging for second spot in the UPL and target a good Cup run.

Elsewhere in the league, Shakhtar hosted Mariupol. As mentioned last week, Mariupol were without a few loanees from their parent club due to contract rules. As such the usual onslaught ensued. Shakhtar spared no prisoners as they defeated their Donetsk Oblast neighbours 5-1. Tete took advantage of his start, by getting a brace before Moraes added to his season’s tally.

In the second half, Shakhtar scored a penalty through Taison before new Shakhtar signing Vakula pulled a consolation back for the Seagulls. The Azov side will keep the attacking midfielder on loan until at least the winter. Marcos Antonio then finished off a lovely move to seal the 5 star display. Routine from Shakhtar!

In the final game of the Matchday, Dnipro-1 hosted Lviv at the Dnipro Arena. They didn’t get off to the best of starts as the visitors went 2-0 up thanks to Brazilians; Renann and Pernambuco.

A 10 minute rally from Dnipro-1 then clawed the game back to 2-2. Polevoy and Kulish getting the goals with Buletsa providing another assist. However, after a few rued chances for the winner from Dnipro-1, Lviv made them pay with a last minute penalty. China made no mistake from the spot to end FC Lviv’s run of three consecutive defeats!

Champions League DRAW

Man City, Shakhtar, D.Zagreb, Atalanta

Europa League DRAW

Dynamo, Kobenhaven, Malmo, Lugano
St Etienne, Wolfsburg, Gent, Oleksandriya

European Preview and reaction coming soon!

PREDICTION TIME

Desna Chernihiv v Karpaty Lviv

The shock of the season so far sees Desna sit second in the table. And they duly justify that position after some of the performances they have put in so far this season. The 3-0 demolition job of Oleksandriya showcased the ambition of the side from Chernihiv in their early push for a top six finish.

It should be noted that the teams below them have also played their role in Desna’s rise; namely Dynamo and Zorya dropping points against sides other than Shakhtar.

However, Desna still are a formidable side. They have goal outlets across the pitch from full back Denys Favorov who already has 3 to his name as does forward Fillipov. They’re not missing the contributions of Bezborodko, who moved to last week’s scalps.

Karpaty, on the other hand have had a strange past week. One of their summer signings, Prce, has already left the club. No real indication as to why. Another, veteran centre back Kucher, broke his leg in training.

Despite this, the look of Karpaty’s set up and recent performances have been showing serious positives. They may have narrowly lost to Zorya but they’re showing enough to indicate that they should put in performances against sides who are closer to their level.

This one is hard to call but based on recent results and the home advantage; Desna should look to add to their impressive points tally. Karpaty not keel over too easily though. 2-1

Dnipro-1 v Kolos Kovalivka

Both of these sides had serious capitulations last time out. Dnipro-1’s hard comeback work was undone by a late penalty but it was their performance for the first 50 minutes that they should really blame for the defeat.

As for Kovalivka, they were played off the park by a resurgent Vorskla but that should still not be an excuse for their defence’s inability to deal with cutbacks and crosses. That defeat could be a psychologically demoralising one. No goals in two games can manifest relatively easily when the strike force is not of the highest calibre. Kolos could struggle in Dnipro.

Meanwhile Dnipro-1 have certainly shown that they are capable of scoring goals but just unable to see out victories. They face Kolos at a perfect time with the visitors leaking goals in recent games and not showing much upfront. 2-0

Vorskla Poltava v Oleksandriya

Vorskla decided to turn on the heat last week as they continued their UPL resurgence. Artur, who was playing full back last season has been moved higher up the wing and has excelled in his new attacking responsibilities. Manager, Kosovsky seems to have sorted out how he wants his side to play. They’re no longer the nailed on goalless draw bet.

Even Kolomoyets is scoring goals! Having scored just 2 all of last season, the striker has repaid his manager’s faith in the continued starting opportunities; he’s now matched last season’s tally inside 5 games and scored in consecutive games!He’s well and truly back to form. if he can get a third this weekend.

Oleksandriya experienced quite the opposite. Their battering by Desna, will require Sharan to analyse his side’s defensive weaknesses ahead of their Europa League campaign. He’ll be hoping it was just an off day, with Oleksandriya’s form struggling to match that of last season’s comfortable third place finish.

With both sides’ performances this year somewhat unpredictable and the fact that this fixture hasn’t seen a draw since 2016, we can see a deadlock. It certainly won’t be goalless. 2-2

FC Lviv v Mariupol

Lviv pulled it out of the bag last week to end their run of consecutive losses. Their Brazilian attack looked impressive and Pernambuco will certainly get himself a few goals this season, adding to the 2 he’s already got.

However, Lviv’s defence has been on the wain. After an impressive display during the first half of last season, it’s been letting them in far too frequently since then. Outscoring their opponents is the current tactic by the looks of it. Against the weaker defences in the league it will certainly put them in good stead.

Mariupol, on the other hand, are currently in their own rut of three consecutive losses. Despite this, it should be noted that a full strength Mariupol side hasn’t played together since their defeat at the hands of AZ, a fortnight and a half ago.

Since then, their game with Dynamo was postponed, so the players enjoyed a rest before last week’s fixture with Shakhtar meant that all parent club loanees had to sit out.

Hence, after the humiliation of two heavy drubbings and the return of the young and hungry Shakhtar loanees, Mariupol should be raring to go. They’re last point came in Lviv against Karpaty so they will take those omens with them too.

Vakula was the lone bright spark against Shakhtar, his new employers and he will remain the key man for Mariupol whilst he stays on loan until at least the winter break.

Lviv’s performances scream of inconsistency and as such could get unstuck against Mariupol who look to return to winning ways. They’ll do the job… just! 1-2

Olimpik Donetsk v Shakhtar Donetsk

It’s the Donetsk derby being played in Kyiv! This rivalry has never really lived up to the name largely due to the sheer differences in quality between the two sides. This season is no different and you could even go as far as stating that Olimpik are at their worst since gaining promotion to the UPL 5 seasons ago.

The draw against Dynamo showed a new manager bounce, as the players showcased better organisation across the field. If it wasn’t for a Tsyhankov world, the game may have ended in Olimpik’s favour. However, rather than such a victory being solely down to Olimpik’s performance, it was largely a result of Dynamo’s own failure to get into the game with drab Khatskevich era tactics (or for a better phrase; the lack of them!)

Shakhtar are fresh off of their fifth consecutive win in the league and full of excitement for some competitive football, in the form of the Champions League, which is around the corner. They know how to finish off sides other than Dynamo with ease and are likely to face no serious problems in doing so once more.

Mariupol were battered 5-1 last week and a similar scoreline here would not be a surprise in the slightest. Moraes to further his claim on the retaining of the golden boot, all the while Brazilian youngsters such as Marcos Antonio and Tete will also be wanting a piece of the action. Slight defensive improvements to be seen again by Olimpik. But it won’t be enough. 0-4

Zorya Luhansk v Dynamo Kyiv

Now it’s time for the MAIN EVENT of Matchday 6!

Fresh from another season’s Europa League play off heartbreak, Zorya welcome Dynamo Kyiv to the Slavutych. Both of their midweek scorers and brightest sparks in the league, Lednev and Rusyn are inelligble to play against their parent club.

This will be a real blow for the Luhansk side as they have relied on their goals and creativity in excessive amounts so far this season. whilst Budkivksy can get the odd tap in here and there, against the likes of Karpaty; Dynamo, even in their current state, are a different animal.

Dynamo were extremely flat last week and were surprisingly kept at bay by Olimpik, without too many overtly dangerous chances occurring. Mykhaylychenko’s Dynamo looked strangely similar to that of Khatkevich’s; Clueless in possession, caught on the break and conceding, relying on individual spouts of brilliance to save the day. Yes, it is still early days but that start against a club with zero wins and points doesn’t bode well for fixtures against top 3 chasing sides.

Now that Zorya’s quick flirt with European football is over, they can look toward challenging Dynamo for that silver medal. Without a midweek distraction and travel debacles come the autumn, this could become an interesting league match up.

Even at this early stage in the season, with Dynamo having dropped 4 points so far, losing any more can see them slip further away from the title and be at risk of dropping down further if Zorya get their act together.

Encounters between these two sides always ends up being a memorable affair and this week is unlikely to be an exception. Dynamo will be desperate to get a win under their belt, as they come up to 6 games without one; whilst Zorya will be dusting themselves down after their Espanyol disappointment. Neither sides defences have been coherent of late, so goals should be guaranteed right?

Wrong…

A lack of goals in this Dynamo side still seems to be a real problem, with Gerson yet to add to his tally of one and usual contributors Verbic and Tsyhakov not really hitting top gear yet. Verbic is even suspended for this game so there’s another outlet out of the way.

The defences and keepers will be the key men in this one. The two sides’ back fives need to improve with immediate effect, if they’re to attempt to get even close to Shakhtar at the pinnacle.

Similarly, Zorya have had defensive problems of late and compounded by this, the loan rules mean they’re without arguably two of their best players this season.

I see there being hype around this game and on paper, it is most certainly the game of the week. However, if we’ve ever seen a game with so much hope, we know this is ending in a draw. Goalless. 0-0

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