Zorya vs Shakhtar: players’ view

The Pitmen have reflected on the victory over Zorya.

Taras Stepanenko, Shakhtar’s midfielder:

- In the first half, Zorya looked very good: they defended and counterattacked well, they even had a chance to score. But when we scored our first goal, the Luhansk team became more open... Probably the opponents wanted to take the points in the match against us very much. Zorya rushed forward, free zones began to appear - and for Shakhtar, whose players are skilful, it was a huge plus. Later, having a serious lead, our confidence grew bigger. Personally, I am very pleased to claim a landslide victory in my hometown today in front of my whole family! Zaporizhzhya is my home, I have lived here for 21 years. It is great that today I have scored twice, plus netted such a beautiful goal. You cannot train such shots during training, they are very rare - I was lucky!

Eduardo, Shakhtar’s forward:

- There are a couple reasons why you saw such two different halves. Today was the first match at such a low temperature - this is the first reason. And secondly, every team that play against Shakhtar are very focused in the first half, aggressive, the opponents try to play more rigidly. And at the same time they play very defensive football. After the break, the game starts to develop, there are more free zones to exploit. But in any case the most important thing is that our team have won today! I am glad that as a substitute I managed to score two goals. Especially my first goal: scoring with my right foot, although my preferred foot is left. It is a pity that it is not always the case. But the best goal in this meeting, I believe, is Taras Stepanenko’s bicycle kick.

Anton Kanibolotsky, Shakhtar’s goalkeeper:

- We really wanted to win this match! Of course, we were preparing for Zorya giving their best. We knew that the Luhansk side are a very good team, who can take points in a game against us. Therefore, we tried to give everything to win. Today, luck was on our side, and I had a lucky day - more than once salvaged the team. I remember that moment with a corner when Ljubenovic fired well, I parried the ball away... Apparently, today is my day. It is a pity that I conceded from a penalty - but it's a lottery. You know, goalkeepers have such matches when everything is flying at you, and you save all shots. But first of all, I am happy that the team won. And so, I cannot determine which of saves was the most difficult for me. It is necessary to watch the match again, and only then to pick. Again, Zorya’s Ljubenovic takes set pieces well, also the danger comes from his defence-splitting passes. Also I would highlight Petryak. He is very fast and skilful footballer who posed a lot of problems to us. And of all of our goals, of course, I liked Stepanenko’s most of all. When a pass was made, I thought the ball was too high for a strike. But Taras managed to jump so that I even opened my mouth as a result of surprise. Of course, in that episode there was share of luck, the goalkeeper could have made a save, but apparently he did not expect that Stepanenko would take a shot in such a fantastic manner.

Alex Teixeira, Shakhtar’s midfielder:

- Zorya are a good team with strong players. Maybe from aside it looked like nobody man-marked me but it was not the case. At the beginning of the game, Zorya played tight in defence, there was a real wall that was very difficult to break. But after the first goal, they began to open up, to attack more. So we had space and new opportunities. The main thing is that we won today. Great goal was scored by Stepanenko. I am glad that Taras managed to score, especially in Zaporizhzhya. I think his family is happy for him. As for my goals, I want to become the best scorer and strive to guide my team to the league title. I want to congratulate all of our fans on a great victory!

Bernard, Shakhtar’s midfielder:

- I expected a tough game against a very strong team. Initially we had to work very hard because Zorya because in the beginning of the game their defence was very tight. In the second half the opponents began to open up, and we managed to demonstrate we have been doing in training. And I had the opportunity to score but the keeper made a save. I may not have scored but the important thing is that the team won. I will score in the following games. Well, the most beautiful goal, of course, was scored by Stepanenko.