UPL – Round 4 Review

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Where else to start this review then at the Donbas Arena where Shakhtar took on Dynamo in the Ukrainian Derby.  The build up and hype of the match was certainly matched in the games opening with Darijo Srna putting ‘The Miners’ ahead in only the second minute with a stunning free-kick.  It look from then as if it was going to be a long night for Dynamo but they picked themselves up and quickly equalised through Younas Belhanda’s thunder strike, leaving Anton Kanibilotskyi with no chance.  The games start was frantic but toward the end of the first half, the teams were cancelling each other out.  At half time Lucescu made changes and it was substitute Eduardo who put Shakhtar back in front, Dynamo again conceding early in the second half.  Dynamo then seemed to run out of ideas, unable to create the killer chances they needed to equalise, there was a penalty shout in the second half but not enough to convicne the referee.  While Dynamo continued to probe Shakhtar hit them on the break and finished the game in the last ten minutes when Alex Teixera killed the game.  As ever the Ukrainian Classico was a fantastic advert for the Ukrainian Premier League and with games of this standard the league continues to improve.  Shakhtar now sit clear at the top with their 100% record maintained, while Dynamo have dropped off, now 5 points behind Shakhtar.

Following their exploits in mid-week in the Champions League – Metalist appeared to start their game awat against Zorya with something of a continental hangover.  Perhaps having one eye on the Champions League return leg, Metalist made a dreadful start to proceedings with defensive errors seeing them quickly 2:0 down with Mikita Kamenyuka capitilising on the amateurish defending.  Metalist however responded with a wonder strike and *Goal of the Week* from Sebastian Blanco.  In the second half Metalist completed the comeback when Jonatan Cristaldo equalise, they could not secure the victory however and will see this as dropped points.  Zorya meanwhile maintained their unbeaten run and will be delighted, albeit disappointed they dropped a 2:0 goal advantage, to claim points off another of the countries top sides.

Dnipro recovered from their Round 3 defeat with a victory over Volyn.  Despite taking the lead, Volyn couldn’t gain even a point as Dnipro finally proved too strong.  Yevhen Selznyov bagged a late brace to condemn Vitaliy Kravchaniy’s side to a second straight defeat.

In the Crimean Derby, Sevastopol claimed their first win of the season (following 3 good performances against good sides) to claim superiority on the peninsula.  Serhiy Kuznetsov grabbed the winner in the second half with good footwork and a neat winner to give Oleh Kononovs men their first three-points and a kick start to their campaign.  A four successive defeat shows the problems Tavriya face and it will need a big improvement to see them lift up the table, particularly with difficult fixtures to follow.

On Friday night, Karpaty Lviv again came close to an away victory only to be pegged by late on, again.  Gregor Balazic gave Karpaty a lead with a header but David Targamadze earned Illichivets a late point with a smart free kick.

Metalurg Zp and Hoverlya were unable to build on their previous victories but both sides will be aware that they are in better positions than at the start of the 2012/13 season.  A 1:1 draw at the Avangard Stadium saw Le Tallac’s penalty cancel out Andriy Shevchuks clever finish.

At the Valeri Lobanovskyi Stadium, Denys Dedechko, who was named in Mykhaylo Fomenko’s Ukrainian squad, openend the scoring with a long range effort only for his Vorskla side to concede from a corner prodded home by Volodymyr Arzhanov. It finished Arsenal 1:1 Vorskla.

The final game of the weekend came with the two Europa League sides facing off, after having mixed fortunes in European competition but it was Chornomorets who took the points.  Following their first leg victory over Crvena Zvezda, Olexiy Antonov scored again to claim ‘The Sailors’ first UPL victory of the season.  It was another disappointing performance from Metalurg and they will have to pick themselves up and dust themselves off ahead of their return leg against Kukesi.

Team GP W D L GF GA
1 Shakhtar 4 4 0 0 9 2 12
2 Metalist 4 3 1 0 7 3 10
3 Dnipro 4 3 0 1 9 4 9
4 Zoria 4 2 2 0 7 3 8
5 Dynamo 4 2 1 1 6 5 7
6 Metalurh Z 4 1 2 1 4 2 5
7 Vorskla 4 1 2 1 5 4 5
8 Chornomorets 4 1 2 1 3 3 5
9 Hoverla 4 1 1 2 5 6 4
10 Metalurh D 4 1 1 2 3 4 4
11 Arsenal 4 1 1 2 4 6 4
12 Sevastopol 4 1 1 2 3 6 4
13 Illichivets 4 1 1 2 2 5 4
14 Volyn 4 1 1 2 3 7 4
15 Karpaty 4 0 2 2 2 6 2
16 Tavria 4 0 0 4 1 7 0
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