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A step towards the title

Wednesday, May 24, 2023



Shakhtar met with Zorya in the central match of the 28th round of the UPL in Kyiv

Head coach of the Orange-and-Blacks Igor Jovicevic applied rotation in three positions again for one of the crucial matches of the season: Yukhym Konoplia returned to the right defensive wing, Artem Bondarenko came on in the centre of the field, and Dmytro Kryskiv had the left winger position.

The match started with a minute’s silence in memory of Ukrainian defenders and civilians who died in the war.

Active start of the game and early goal

Shakhtar started powerfully, creating several promising opportunities in the debut, and opened the scoring in the 5th minute: Zubkov launched a quick attack and passed to Heorhii Sudakov in the centre, the latter adjusted the ball with the first touch and put it into the right bottom corner from the penalty area line with the second touch – 0-1. Then Sudakov had another chance to score, but this time he missed the left post after Sikan’s pass. Zorya responded with a counterattack with Antiukh going almost one on one, but Shakhtar were saved by Rakitskyi’s timely sliding tackle. The teams continued to play openly and exchange moments. After taking the corner kick, Matviienko shot on the volley – off target. Rusyn caught Trubin’s turnover and shot into the near corner – the goalkeeper of the Orange-and-Blacks corrected himself and turned it for a corner. Antiukh dangerously chipped the ball with his head – a little higher. Zubkov was in an advantageous position in a quick attack, but his shot was weak. Towards the end of the half, the pace of the game decreased, which affected the intensity, but Shakhtar still had control over the ball and the general situation on the field. A minute before the break, the Miners had to double the score, but Kryskiv missed almost empty net after Konoplia’s cross. Luhansk team could have scored before the break when Imerekov headed the ball in centimetres above the crossbar.

Numerical advantage and lead

As soon as the second half of the match began, the host team had ten players: Snurnitsyn hit Zubkov’s legs from behind and received a straight red card from the referee. In a few minutes, Sandor could have sent off another Zorya player, but limited himself to a booking for Brazhko for his dirty tackle from behind under Sikan a meter away from the penalty area line – Rakitskyi shot just above the target from this set-piece. But even without this, the Miners managed to exploit the numerical advantage and scored a second goal in the 59th minute: Kryskiv found Artem Bondarenko with an excellent pass in the penalty area, the latter then shot under the goalkeeper without approaching – 0-2. This goal eliminated almost all questions about the result of the match, and the teams spent most of the half in a positional battle in the centre of the field. The hot weather minimised the pace, and the coaching staff of Igor Jovicevic decided to make substitutions: Nazaryna, Gocholeishvili and Topalov came on the field, and Kelsy and Djurasek appeared a little later. And it was the fresh players who organized scoring of the third goal: Topalov received the ball on the left wing, raced to the penalty area and rolled the ball into the centre to Kevin Kelsy, who made a one-touch shot into the net – this is the fifth goal of the Venezuelan forward.

3-0 – Shakhtar confidently defeated Zorya and extended their lead from their only competitors, Dnipro-1, to 5 points, two rounds before the end of the championship.

The Miners can win the championship title already in the next match, when they will host Dnipro team on Sunday, May 28. The key game of the season will kick off at 15:00.

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

Kyiv, V. Lobanovskyi Dynamo stadium, without spectators

Goals: 0-1 Sudakov (5′), 0-2 Bondarenko (59′), 0-3 Kelsy (83′)

Shakhtar: Trubin, Konoplia (Gocholeishvili, 77′), Bondar, Rakitskyi (Djurasek, 84′), Matviienko, Bondarenko, Stepanenko (c), Sudakov (Nazaryna, 77′), Zubkov, Kryskiv (Topalov, 77′), Sikan (Kelsy, 81′)

Send-off: Snurnitsyn (49′, straight red card)