It’s Matchday 3 in the Europa League as UPL bronze medalists Olexandria visit St. Etienne in central France.
After picking up their debut point in European group competition against Gent in Matchday 2, Volodymyr Sharan’s men will be going into this game feeling motivated.
In St Etienne, they face another big club side that has fallen by the wayside in recent seasons. Claude Puel was appointed manager shortly before the previous European gameweek and has got off to a perfect start with two wins in the league, including one against arch rivals Lyon in his first game in charge.
Both of these games have been won by a goal to nil as it seems the implementation of Puel’s boring tactics and style of play. It will be interesting to see how Olexandria fare against a side that plays so similarly to themselves but with inferior quality (on paper at least) at their disposal.
Sharan, once again has a fully fit squad to choose from and is likely to opt for a similar line up that drew with Gent. That side did cause the Gent back line problems with wingers Tretyakov and Luchkevych impressing, with Kovalets also influential playing in the free roam attacking midfield role.
As long as Olexandria keep disciplined at the back as they are drilled to do under their coach, this should be another low scoring game. Whether St Etienne have the quality in the final third will have to be seen, with their top scorer Hamouma only having 3 goals to his name. The French side also sit 10th in Ligue 1, but are just three points off third, so that may be slightly deceiving.
Nevertheless, Olexandria were seriously unlucky to lose against Dynamo Kyiv on the weekend, failing to pick up a full back steaming into the box who got on the end of a cross. Other than that they had a few of their own chances and were resolute at neutralising Dynamo’s advances.
St Etienne look to be the most organised side defensively that Olexandria have faced in the group, but also the weakest going forward. It will be interesting to see how the visitors cope with this. They have nothing to lose either way and a positive result will only help boost their chances of making an unprecedented charge for the knockout stages!