UPL – Round 12 Review

The fans lit up the Dnipro-Arena after the flood lights failed.
The fans lit up the Dnipro-Arena after the flood lights failed.

The game of the week was at the Dnipro Arena as the top two, Metalist and Dnipro clashed.  There is a brutal rivalry between the two sides and Dnipro stoked the fires of that rivalry ahead of the game as they issued an open letter stating that Metalist had regularly broken league rules in terms of fielding too many foreigners and that they would be forced to take action if the issue arose again.  Metalist responded as the war of words between the two sides escalated.  The Dnipro fans also did their best to wind up their opponents as they managed to get hold of striker Marko Devic’s phone number, sending him abusive messages ahead of the game.

The actual game was entertaining and played at a high level with a high tempo.  Dnipro took the lead in the 10th minutes as Vitaliy Mandzyuk headed home from a Ruslan Rotan free-kick.  Metalist seemed in shock after the goal and Dnipro seized on this and continued going forward.  They were rewarded in the 15th minute as Roman Zozulya doubled the home sides advantage and left Metalist in complete shock.  The game continued to be played at a high level and Metalist pulled a goal back in controversial circumstances.  Edmar bundled home from a corner but replays appeared to show that the whole ball had not crossed the line.  Denys Boyko was incensed as he fully believed, and correctly so, that he had saved the effort, he then got a yellow card from the referee for his complaints.

It was at the start of the second half that the real action of the game took place as the floodlights failed!  The referee had no option to order the players off the field as the Dnipro Arena was plunged into darkness.  The Ultras entertained themselves as they let off plenty of pyro to lit up the stadium.  There was no success in fixing the lights and eventually the game was abandoned.  There was confusion as to what should happen as to the result of the game.  Metalist issued an open letter following the abandonment and claimed they should be awarded a technical 3:0 victory because Dnipro failed to comply with regulations with regards to back-up power and fan safety.  Dnipro responded, branding Metalist hypocrites and claiming they should be awarded a technical victory ad they believe that Metalist broke the regulations with regards to the foreign limit.

The UPL commission has now ruled that the game will be continued at an unspecified date.  This could be a while away yet as the players are now set for international duty and Dnipro have a busy schedule on the return.

Facundo Ferreyra stars with a hat-trick as Shakhtar hit 7
Facundo Ferreyra stars with a hat-trick as Shakhtar hit 7

Shakhtar Donetsk enjoyed full control in their match against Arsenal Kyiv as they returned to winning ways in the #UPL.  Having defeated Arsenal 5:0 and 6:0 on their previous two meetings at the Donbas Arena, Shakhtar went one better and won 7:0.  Facundo Ferreyra headed home from Bernards cross to open the scoring for the Miners on 10 minutes.  Shakhtar didn’t add the second until late in the first half, when Alex Teixeira tapped home, the third followed quickly after Sharpar was caught out on the ball and Bernard’s excellent through ball was finished off again by Teixeira.  The goalfest really got going in the second half as everything Shakhtar touched turned to gold while Arsenal crumbled.  Facundo Ferreyra added his second in the 49th minute, expertly turning the Arsenal defence and lofting the ball over the Arsenal keeper following Darijo Srna’s expert long ball.  The combination of Srna and Ferreyra again combined for the latters hat-trick this time a cross from the right wing for the Argentine forward to slide home.  Before the hour was done, Bernard again provided a perfect pass, this time for Eduardo who made no mistake to make it 6:0.  The scoring wasn’t done their for Shakhtar as Ismaily added a 7th.  A perfect day for Shakhtar but a total disaster for Arsenal who now turn their attentions to survival as a football club, never mind surviving in the UPL.

Younes Belhanda celebrates his hat-trick
Younes Belhanda celebrates his hat-trick

It was a case of whatever Shakhtar can do, Dynamo can do better as Blokhin’s new boys finally proved their worth as they smashed 10 man Metalurg Donetsk 9:1 at the NSC Olympiyskyi.  Dynamo started with an attacking intent in search of an early goal.  It was not forthcoming but the Kyiv side received a break through on 20 minutes when Denys Holaydo was sent off for a professional final.  Andriy Yarmolenko scored from the resulting free kick which deflected off the wall.  Jermaine Lens got the second a few minutes later as Dynamo made themselves comfortable.  The comfort did not last however as Metalurg found a way back into the game before half time to make it 2:1.  Dynamo had the initiative in the second half and Belhanda quickly restored the 2 goal cushion.  A crazy ten minute period followed which saw them score 5 goals in 10 minutes as everything Dynamo hit towards goal went in.  Yarmolenko, Lens, Haruna and Belhanda all got in on the goal scoring, Belhanda sealing his hattrick.  The scoring wasn’t over yet as Diemerci Mbokani added to the total making it 9 in the final few minutes.  The 9:1 scoreline will boost Dynamo’s confidence after weeks of suffering but there will be many more difficult matches ahead for Dynamo.  As for Metalurg they will want to quickly forget this disastrous result.

Karpaty Lviv continued their recent upturn in perfromance and results with a solid victory against relegation threatened Metalurg Zp at the Slavutych Arena.  Karpaty started promisingly and created opportunities from the off with out scoring.  This changed immediately in the second half as Karpaty took the lead in the 46th minute with Serhiy Zenjov heading home from a corner.  Karpaty would have been delighted with the breakthrough after their dominance was further rewarded when Mladen Bartulovic headed home Olexandr Gladkyi’s free kick.  Karpaty’s dominances was affirmed when Serhiy Zenjov scored his second of the evening to make it 3:0 on 77 minutes.  Metalurg did get a consolation goal deep into stoppage time through Shevchuk but the Green Lions solidly deserved their victory and continued there recent hike up the table.

Vorskla and Tavriya kicked off #UPL Round 12 on friday evening in Simferopol.  The match in all honesty was no great spectacle as their were few moments of excitement thoughout the game.  Tavriya looked on course to be earning a point until in the final moments of the game they scored a howler of an own goal.  Pavlo Rebenok played a hopeful ball forward which would have found the keepers hands only for Tavriya’s defender Aksonov to chest the ball into his own goal.  The result was heartbreak for Tavriya and an escape with three points for Vorskla.

The early kick off on Saturday saw Hoverlya host Zorya.  Hoverlya started the first half on the attack but there were few goalscoring opportunities created for either side.  The second was a more balanced half but Zorya’s Danilo had the best opportunity when his effort hit the cross bar.  Neither side found the break through and the game ended in a goalless stalemate.  The result strenghens Hoverlya’s position as the sides beneath them all lost and look way below the level of the Carpathian side, so barring something dramatic they should set their sites to mid table rather than looking over their shoulder.

Illivchivets managed to hault their poor form of 3 consecutive defeats as they overturned Sevastopol.  There were chances for both sides in the first half, Novak and Kuznetsov for Sevastopol and Polyanski and Maicon for Illichivets, and the deadline was eventually broken by Fedotov in the 43rd minute.  In the second half, the hosts attacked as they searched for an equaliser but despite chances it would not come.  Sevastopol may have deserved an equaliser but it did not come, so Pavlov’s side took all 3 points.

Chornomorets failed to score for the 3rd consecutive game as they were held to a draw by Volyn.  The game was entertaining, despite the lack of goals but good performances from both keepers kept the strikers at bay.  Chornomorets maintain their position in the table but slipped away from Shakhtar while Dynamo caught up.  Volyn will be satisfied with a good point away from home at a difficult place to visit.

Team Pld W D L GF GA
1 Metalist 11 9 2 0 26 7 29
2 Shakhtar 12 8 2 2 31 11 26
3 Dnipro 11 8 2 1 21 9 26
4 Chornomorets 12 7 3 2 13 8 24
5 Dynamo 12 6 3 3 24 15 21
6 Vorskla 12 5 5 2 18 16 20
7 Zorya 12 4 4 4 15 11 16
8 Karpaty 12 4 4 4 12 13 16
9 Illichivets 12 5 1 6 9 10 16
10 Metalurg D 12 4 2 7 16 25 14
11 Sevastopol 12 3 4 5 15 20 13
12 Volyn 12 3 4 5 10 19 13
13 Hoverlya 12 3 2 7 11 16 11
14 Arsenal 12 3 1 8 10 26 10
15 Metalurh Z 12 1 3 8 13 21 6
16 Tavriya 12 1 0 11 6 23 3
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