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U21. Zorya vs Shakhtar: match preview

Friday, March 31, 2017



Shakhtar begin the U21 league second stage in Zaporizhya, where in the 23rd round they will meet with Zorya Luhansk. We bring you the game preview

April 1, Zaporizhya, Torpedo stadium, 15:00

Before the match

Less than three weeks have passed since the opponents’ most recent encounter. Let us remind you that on March 11, the teams also played in Zaporizhya, with Zorya managing to secure a draw (0-0) and take points away from the Pitmen. After that, Valeriy Kryventsov's men have had only one league game, claiming a home win at Olimpik (1-0) through a precision shot by Danylo Ihnatenko. The Oramge-and-Blacks completed the first stage of the season in the second spot with 15 wins, 4 draws and 3 losses (49 points, 49-11 goal difference).

Immediately after the meeting with the Olympians, a large group of Shakhtar players went on international duty. So, Ihor Kiryukhantsev played for Ukraine U21 in a friendly match against Turkey (1-1). Dmytro Topalov with Ukraine U19 team fought for advancing to the UEFA European U19 Championship, with the Blue-and-Yellows failing to make it past the elite round. But Valerii Bondar and Viktor Korniienko raised the Federation Cup in Latvia with the U18 team. The centre-back Bondar netted two goals in three games, including the winning goal against the tournament hosts (1-0). We want to make special mention of Giorgi Arabidze, one of the top scorers of Shakhtar U21 team this season. Over the past week, the 19-year-old midfielder has made his debut for Georgia national team by playing against Serbia (1-3) in the 2018 World Cup qualifier, and then scored his first goal for Georgia in a friendly match against Latvia (5-0).

All the internationals returned to Shakhtar without injuries. They are preparing for Zorya. Only Valeriy Bondar, who is serving a one-game suspension for being sent off in the previous round, will not be able to help the Donetsk team.

Referee – Anatolii Zhabchenko (Khmelnitsky)
Assistant referees – Oleksandr Voityuk (Zaporizhya), Viktor Matyash (Donetsk)
Fourth official – Anton Isayev (Zaporizhya)
Referee observer – Henadii Kovalenko (Kyiv)


Zorya have joined the top six clubs having a negative goal difference: in 22 games in the first half of the season, the Luhansk team claimed 9 wins and lost 11 games, along with 2 draws (29 points, goal difference 27-30). In the previous round, Volodymyr Mikitin's men suffered aan away defeat at the hands of the league underdogs Volyn (2-3). This season’s top scorer of Zorya Denys Bezborodko (6 goals) has managed to interrupt a protracted goalless run of his team that lasted for over four games. The scorer of the second goal Volodymyr Zaimenko will not be able to help the Luhansk players against Shakhtar due to a yellow card he earned in Lutsk.

Match background

In the current league season, the opponents have met twice already. In the first round, the Pitmen won in Schaslyve after the goals scored by Viacheslav Tankovskyi and Roman Yalovenko (2-0). And the second round game ended without any goals scored (0-0).

In total, U21 teams of Shakhtar and Zorya had 21 meetings, 11 of which 11 were won by Donetsk, 6 games ended in a draw and 4 were won by Luhansk. The goal difference is 41-21 in favour of the Orange-and-Blacks.


This season, Shakhtar have not suffered a single away defeat: 7 wins and 4 draws.

Zorya won 5 of the last 7 home games. All in all, the Luhansk team scored 20 home points.