U21. Shakhtar 1-0 Oleksandriya

In the opening match of the 2015-16 season, Shakhtar U21 defeated Oleksandriya U21.

U21 league. 1st round. July 18, 2015. Schaslyve. Knyazha Arena. 25 degrees

Shakhtar U21 (Donetsk) 1-0 (0-0) Oleskandriya U21

Goal: 1-0 Gryn (59)

Shakhtar: Gritsenko, Kiryukhantsev, Matvienko (c), Bezuglyi, Ismaily, Senitskiy, Gabelok (Pikhalyonok, 80), Zubkov, Gryn, Boyarchuk (Suhaninskiy, 88), Ferreyra (Rusin, 74)

Unused subs: Kudrik, Shevchenko Steflyuk, Bugay

Head coach: Miguel Cardoso
Coaches: Anatoliy Skirchuk, Igor Duljaj

Oleksandriya: Rudyk, Bessarab, Tsyrulnyov, Matveev, Stepanyuk, Leonov, Prigranichyi, Khomich, Elsukov, Guskov (Zhukov, 64), Grubyi (Ardelyan 78)

Unused subs: Swirsa, Gnyp, Ponomarenko, Rybin

Head coach: Andriy Kuptsov

Referee: Vitaliy Romanov (Dnipropetrovsk)

Booked: Leonov (52), Ferreyra (63), Tsyrulnev (73)

Before match

Shakhtar U21 played their first game at the Knyazha Arena stadium in the Shchaslyve settlement, where the team are based in this season. The coaching staff headed by Miguel Cardoso had little information about Oleksandriya’s potential, given the fact that the club played last season in the First League, which does not involve taking part in the U-21 championship. Shakhtar U21 featured the players representing the first-team: Ismaily, Serhiy Gryn, Facundo Ferreyra, as well as Mykola Matvienko, who was captaining the squad.

First half

The Pitmen started the game energetically, but they did not create scoring opportunities. Soon, the game became more evenly matched and was developing in the middle of the pitch, and both teams’ goalkeepers did not have much work to do. Not long before the break the Pitmen’s Andriy Boryachuk had a chance to score after trying to seize on a through ball into the penalty area and bearing down on goal. The forward’s shot from a tight angle towards far corner missed the target. The first half ended 0-0.

Second half                  

After the break, the tempo of the game got higher. In one of the Pitmen’s attacking moves, the ball hit the hand of the opposition player inside the penalty area but the referee waved play on, and in the following attack Shakhtar’s goalkeeper Yevhen Gritsenko came to rescue his team. On 59 minutes, the Pitmen managed to orchestrate an incisive attacking move down the right side. Gryn darted into the penalty area before firing a shot into the far corner to make it 1-0. Soon after that the visitors wasted another chance – Gritsenko again put on a fine performance.

Shakhtar were attacking more often; Ismaily was making runs down the left side, constantly joining attacks. Gryn had a couple of decent chances to shoot goal wards, Ferreyra was closing down the opposition defenders all the time, and Matvienko played confidently in the central zone of defence. On 71 minutes, Boryachuk found himself in a similar situation as in the first half. The forward’s shot hit the goal post.

Late on, Boryachuk had one more chance to score but the ball flew just wide. Rostislav Rusin, who came on as a sub, took a great long range effort – the ball came close to flying into the far top corner. In the added time, Oleksandr Zubkov took a low shot from outside the penalty area, but Oleskandriya’s goalkeeper made a save. Straight after that, the referee blew the final whistle. Shakhtar claimed a 1-0 win.

Thus, Shakhtar U21 register their first victory in the current season.

Miguel Cardoso, Shakhtar U21 head coach:

- The first league game is always special. U19 players joined us just a few days ago after being away on international duty. But we knew that the guys would show their mettle in the game. Oleksandriya put on a good performance. They are pretty strong and very organised team: the visitors made transitions from their penalty area to attack through passing. They were closing down zones and weren’t taking any risks. Because of the hot weather and a dry pitch, game slowed down and we failed to step up the pace at the right moment to carve open the opposition defence. In the second half, we knew what needed to be changed: we had to be energetic down the flanks and hit the ball in behind the defenders into free zones. Actually, that was how we scored. Unfortunately, we did not convert two or three chances to wrap the game up in a calmer manner. Players from the senior team have brought a certain level to our game. We are pleased that they are with us. They geared up well and definitely helped us achieve a win. Congratulations to the team!