Oleksandr Koval: It’s too early to rank Metalurh amongst outsiders

Shakhtar defender of the 1990s shared his take on the upcoming meeting with Zaporizhya.

- Of course, status and performance wise, Shakhtar are superior to their opponents in many regards. Therefore, I look forward to the win only by the Donetsk team. At the same time it is clear that against the Orange-Blacks the opponents are giving their all to somehow prove themselves. Metalurh are inferior to Donetsk skill and tactics wise, but physically they will fight to the bitter end.

- Will an early goal make Zaporizhya expose themselves? Will it play into the hands of Shakhtar?
- Yes, the opponents will initially operate defensively. But Shakhtar are very strong offensively, if they manage to score early in the match, then Metalurh will just have to charge forward and open up. In this case, the Pitmen will be able to orchestrate some blistering counterattacks, which they are good at.

- Is it possible, according to you, that in the upcoming meeting, just as in the cup tie, we will see significant squad reshuffling?
- Mircea Lucescu has a large number of good players, including the graduates of our Academy. I think Mister will give young players a chance to prove themselves in this game. It is clear that one and the same line-up play every game given the busy schedule. But all that is up to the coach to decide.

- Does the penultimate spot in the standings correspond to the actual level and current form of Metalurh?
- It is still too early to make any judgements, it’s just the beginning of the season now, after all. Perhaps Zaporizhya just haven’t gathered momentum yet, haven’t rediscovered the necessary form. But it’s too early to rank Metalurh amongst outsiders.

We want to remind you that Shakhtar vs Metalurh match will be held in Lviv at 19:00 on August 28. Tickets for the game are on sale now.