U21. Oleksandriya vs Shakhtar: players’ view

After the game, Shakhtar U21 players have shared their impressions.

Yevhen Gritsenko, Shakhtar U21 goalkeeper:

- It was the game when the first goal would decide everything. Of course, I could have made a save in the first half, but the ball the striker’s shot took a different direction after he failed to strike the ball cleanly and the ball flew right under my feet. It was a very disappointing goal. The quality of the pitch, of course, was not of the highest quality, but it is not an excuse for our defeat, especially since the field was the same for both teams. In the first half of the championship, our game with Oleksandriya was difficult too. The team itself are difficult: they are aggressive, defend tightly. I am sure Oleksandriya deserve a higher place in the championship. Our tactic today has not worked out, we were nervous a little, and we were simply outplayed. Still, there is time to analyse the game. I think that nothing terrible has happened: we are in the first place, so we need to win the next match.

Bogdan Kuksenko, Shakhtar U21 midfielder:

- It is always difficult to play against opponents who deploy physical football. It is also hard to go into such a game. We had chances in the first half but failed to seize on them; the boys are upset. We were looking for our chance after the break, but nothing worked out, even though our team tried. I came on as a sub being instructed to play combination football. If we succeeded in that, we would have created problems for the opponents. This is my first game of the season – I have recovered from injury for long time. My debut, alas, was not successful, as we lost. The coach made post-match analysis straight after match, pointing out our errors. In the next match against Volyn, we have to avoid them.

Andriy Boryachuk, Shakhtar U21 forward:

- We conceded the opener, then we tried to get back into the game but unfortunately we failed to do it. We had enough chances, but our conversion of goal-scoring opportunities let us down. Even after opening the score, Oleksandriya allowed us to play, they did not drop deep in defence. Once we approached their penalty area, the opposition defence got tighter, when they lost the ball, they quickly moved to defence and played the ball upfield. The field was really bad. But at half-time our coach encouraged us, saying that we had to score an equaliser, and then the second goal would come. We failed to score even one goal, there were virtually no chances. The ball was rarely played forward and mostly we used long passing, which played into the hands of our opponent. In general, Oleksandriya are one of the toughest opponents for us, the game in the first half of the championship was the same. Of course, I am upset with the fact that I failed to score today! I will try to do it in the next game. We still have a lot to work to do to improve. It has probably been my worst game of the season.