U21. Dnipro vs Shakhtar: preview
On Matchday 18 of the Ukrainian U21 league, Shakhtar will face Dnipro. We’re bringing you the match preview.
12 March, Novomoscovsk, Metalurh Stadium, 14:00
Shakhtar U21, league leaders, will play one of the key matches of the season on Saturday. The Pitmen will face the reigning champions – Dnipro, who are now sitting third in the table with 37 points. The teams are separated by 6 points, and for Dnipro this game will become virtually the last chance to be part of the title race. Dinamo (42 points) are sandwiched between Shakhtar and Dnipro; on Matchday 18 they played out an away draw with Karpaty (2-2). Recently, Dynamo beat Dnipro 3-0. In the psring part of the league, Dnipro were sitting second in the standings behind the Pitmen, but before the midseason break Dnipro, having conceded a goal in the closing stages of the home game with Vorskla and lost points (1-1), dropped to third place.
Miguel Cardoso’s team played their opening game in the spring part of the league with Vorskla and got a hard-fought 2-1 win over Vorskla on an artificial pitch in Schaslyve. Artem Gabelok scored both goals from a penalty spot. Shakhtar’s newcomer Daniil Ignatenko will miss the Dnipro match due to suspension. On the other hand, Mykhailo Shyshka is back after serving his ban.
Match referee - Mykola Balakin (Kyiv Oblast).
Assistant referees - Volodymyr Zhariy (Dnipropetrovsk region), Jaroslav Trehleb (Dnipropetrovsk)
Fourth official - Denis Reznikov (Dniprodzerzhynsk)
Referee observer - Valeriy Lysenko (Odesa)
In the past season Shakhtar U21 lost both matches against Dnipro: 0-2 in Poltava and 0-4 in Novomoscovsk. In the first half of the championship, the Pitmen took revenge in a home game in Schaslyve, claiming an overwhelming win over Dnipro. As early as on 24 seconds, Andriy Boryachuk hit the target, and on 59 minutes, he managed to convert a penalty. However, in the following attack, Serhiy Gryn made it 2-0. Dnipro had no chance to score, whereas the Pitmen could have registered a bigger win.
Andriy Boryachuk, the league’s leading top scorer, still has 18 goals under his belt after 17 matches.
Dnipro’s top scorer is Denis Balanyuk with 12 goals after 14 matches.
The game will take place in Novomoscovsk, where Dnipro U21, before loss of points against Vorskla, got six wins in all previous home games of the current season.
At the start of the season, Dnipro clinched a sensational defeat away at Hoverla (1-2), who are sitting last in the U21 league with one win under their belt.
Shakhtar and Dnipro along with Oleksandriya and Olimpik are two most uncompromised teams in the current season, playing only draw in 17 matches.
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