Oleksandria return to Arena Lviv for Matchday 4 in the Europa League as they host St Etienne tonight!
After a hard worked 1-1 draw that Oleksandria could have even won had they been more clinical, the battle for a knockout round place still remains attainable.
Since that game, Oleksandriya kept league leaders Shakhtar at bay, leading to Donetsk dropping their first points of the season in a 0-0 draw.
This result can be seen as a testimony to Volodymyr Sharan’s stringent defensive set up. Not only are they organised but also disciplined and composed, especially when it comes to opposition who are likely to dominate the attacking chances and possession.
Yuri Pankiv in between the posts has also been a valuable asset this campaign with a host of important saves!
However if Oleksandria are serious about making the Round of 32, a goal many thought was unachievable when the draw was made, they must start converting the limited chances they get.
Artem Sitalo has started up front for Oleksandria in all three UEL games so far scoring one goal and not doing too much else. It’s not entirely his fault as he is rather isolated leading the line on his own.
Wide men, Tretyakov and Luchkevych who have been lively in the fixtures so far will he need to be more precise with their final balls whilst the hosts will need to attempt to get more players into the box on counter attacking occasions.
Second choice striker Bezborodko scored again on the weekend and it would be interesting to see whether he could make a more dynamic difference if he were to start. Although it is unlikely, with Sharan favouring a very similar starting XI for all three games so far and being largely satisfied with the results accumulated to this point.
Kyrylo Kovalets, needs to be given a special mention as he continues to impress in the league and in Europe. His creativity in the attacking midfield role is the catalyst for many of his side’s attacks. He scored and assisted on the weekend and looks to be a likely goalscoring outlet if chance creation is to be limited to the edge of the box.
Claude Puel’s visiting side are still unbeaten under his tenure and will be wanting revenge for the ‘humiliating’ result of the reverse leg. They too are winless so far this campaign, with two draws to their name.
A plus for the Ukrainians though should be that their opponents are also lacking in the goals department at the moment. With no clean sheet in Etienne’s last 9 UEL away fixtures, the omens look to be in Oleksandria’s favour!
Let’s hope that Sharan’s men can defy the odds once again and pull off a historic first ever victory in the Europa League tonight!