Shakhtar are the champions!

Saturday, May 6, 2017



In the 28th round of the Premier League, Shakhtar beat Zorya 3-2 and claimed the league title early

2016/17 Ukrainian League. Round 28.

May 6, 2017. Kharkiv. OSC Metalist. Att: 12,157. 21oC.

Shakhtar Donetsk 3-2 (1-0) Zorya Luhansk

Goals1-0 Ferreyra (38), 2-0 Ismaily (52), 3-0 Ordets (55), 3-1 Kharatin (80), 3-2 Bonaventure (88)

Shakhtar: Pyatov, Srna (c), Ordets, Rakits’kyy, Ismaily, Stepanenko, Malyshev, Bernard, Marlos (Zubkov, 90+1), Taison (Alan Patrick, 74), Ferreyra (Blanco Leschuk, 84)

Unused subs: N. Shevchenko, Butko, Kucher, Azevedo

Head coach: Paulo Fonseca

Zorya: A. Shevchenko, Shershen (Sukhotskyi, 56), Pilyavskyi, Forster (c), Opanasenko, Kalitvintsev, Babenko, Kharatin, Lipartia, Bonaventure, Paulinho

Unused subs: Chuvayev, Yarmash, Kachavenda, Shalfeev, Kadymian

Head coach: Yurii Vernydub

Booked: Opanasenko (37), Kharatin (43), Marlos (73), Srna (86), Babenko (86), Bonaventure (90+1), Piliavskyi (90+4)

Referee: Yurii Mozharovskyi (Lviv)

Before the match

Shakhtar Donetsk who top the Ukrainian Premier League (72 points) took on coming third Zorya Lugansk (with 42 points). The Pitmen had a special motivation for this match: in case of a win, they will become the Ukrainian champions early. On their turn, the Luhansk side continue to vie for the bronze medals, for the first time in the club’s history, and needed points more than ever. In the current season, the opponents have already locked horns with each other three times, with Paulo Fonseca’s men coming victorious thrice. The Orange-and-Blacks won all previous three league matches preserving a clean sheet, as Zorya have a five-match winless streak. The Donetsk side’s starting line-up saw two changes compared to the previous game: Ivan Ordets emerged on the pitch in a role of centre back to replace Olexandr Kucher, as Maksym Malyshev took up a position next to Taras Stepanenko.

First half

Shakhtar immediately got on the front foot to create an opportunity yet in the fourth minute: following a high cross from Rakits’kyy from the left, Ordets connected with a header at the far post only to see the ball flying across the goal line. The visiting team responded with a break courtesy of Bonaventure’s individual skills, which nearly flicked a curler into the far top corner inside the penalty area. Midway through the first half, the Luhansk team’s skipper Rafael Forster stopped a cross inside Zorya’s goal area with a handball; however, the referee ignored this episode. The Orange-and-Blacks controlled the course of the game, threatened the opponents’ goal more often and actively used the flanks at the same time. It was after a low cross from the wing when Ferreyra and Bernard missed their chance to break the deadlock. If Facundo blazed with a header over the bar, the Brazilian did not manage to get a toe on the ball. However, Shakhtar did not go into the break without scoring a goal. In the 38th minute, after Darijo Srna played a vertical pass towards Ferreyra, the Argentine reacted to a deflection off Forster and forced his diving kick past the goalkeeper in to make it 1-0.

In the 38th minute, after Darijo Srna played a vertical pass towards Ferreyra, the Argentine reacted to a deflection off Forster and forced his diving kick past the goalkeeper in to make it 1-0
Second half

As soon as the second half kicked off, the Pitmen doubled their lead. Bernard capitalized on Shershen’s error inside the penalty area and shot at goal to see Shevchenko parrying an effort, however, Ismaily was first to get onto the rebound and landed a hammer blow home – 2-0. It took three minutes for them to extend their lead. And the third goal was set up by two central defenders: Rakits’kyy played a low cross inside a goal area, where Ivan Ordets beat his man to it and found an empty net to register 3-0.
And the third goal was set up by two central defenders: Rakits’kyy played a low cross inside a goal area, where Ivan Ordets beat his man to it and found an empty net to register 3-0
While Zorya came to their senses after such a heavy blow, the hosts delivered another series of threatening attacking moves. Shevchenko made two saves after the strikes from Ferreyra and BernardIsmaily fired a threatening shot from the corner, but missed the target, as Facundo failed to get the foot on the ball at the far post. In a counterattack, Bernard put Taison one on one, before the Brazilian played a pass to Stepanenko, who outclassed two defenders but could not beat the goalkeeper. Following such an intensive spell, Shakhtar took a break, with Zorya taking the game onto Donetsk's half of the pitch in great numbers. And if Sukhotskyi and Lipartia could not hit the target from promising positions, then in the 80th minute the Luhansk side managed to pull one back, as Kharatin scored after delivering a corner. On the 88th minutes, Bonaventure broke into the Pitmen’s penalty area and sent a net-belter past Pyatov, overturn the deficit to a minimum. Immediately after that, Marlos could finally put a seal on the victory, but his well-placed shot flew over the bar. In the injured time, the Orange-and-Blacks pushed the game away from their goal and coolly brought the game to victory.

Shakhtar have claimed a 3-2 victory to win their tenth league’s title!

The Donetsk side gained 75 points four rounds before the league’s finish and get a peg too high for their competitors. This is the first gold in the career of the mentor Paulo Fonseca, and being the tenth in the Pitmen’s history. It is also unique since Shakhtar have not played a single match at the home stadium throughout the entire league campaign, but this did not prevent him from winning early in the season 2016/17.

The Donetsk side are expected to hold the Ukrainian Cup final versus Dynamo, which will be held on May 17 in Kharkiv. The Pitmen’s will have their next league fixture in Odesa in May 13 against Chornomorets.