Ukraine: Shakhtar make Dynamo suffer further (+video)
Following the sacking of Dynamo Kyiv coach Valeri Gazzaev last week the Ukrainian capital club faced a difficult task on Sunday in trying to recapture the league leadership from arch-rivals Shakhtar Donetsk. Both clubs have dominated Ukrainian football since the second championship of an independent football league in 1992-93 and this season looks like both teams will be the likely contenders for the title yet again. Therefore it was important for both teams to gain a psychological advantage for the current campaign with Shakhtar just two points ahead of record champions Dynamo before Sunday’s match kicked off in Donetsk.
The match was played in the impressive setting of the Donbass Arena in Donetsk which is a testament in itself to the amount of work put into building the club by chairman Rinat Akhmetov. Having beaten Dynamo Kyiv to last season’s league title and the UEFA Cup in 2008-09 the club located in eastern Ukraine have been a thorn in Dynamo’s side in recent years but it was the visitors who looked the most likely to score in the first half with the likes of Andriy Shevchenko and Oleh Husyev having good chances to score. However it was Shakhtar who ended the half stronger and, despite the 0-0 scoreline at half-time, continued to attack their more illustrious opponents in the second half.
The breakthrough came on 64 minutes when Brazilian Luiz Adriano turned the ball home from close range following a deflected effort from Yaroslav Rakytskyi. The game wasn’t settled until the second minute of stoppage time when another Brazilian, Alex Teixeira, coolly slotted the ball home to increase the home side’s advantage and gain another notch into their battle for domestic superiority with Dynamo. For Dynamo the defeat signalled that the balance of power has shifted eastwards once again and makes the timing of Gazzaev’s sacking all the more questionable. Not only do Shakhtar have the advantage over Dynamo in the table (the gap between the top two increased to five points in Shakhtar’s favour) the Donetsk club also have UEFA Champions League football this season whilst Dynamo must slum it in the UEFA Europa League after they were knocked out in the Champions League qualifying rounds to Ajax Amsterdam. Unless the momentum changes Shakhtar are in a great position to win a second consecutive championship and keep Dynamo where they want them.
WATCH SHAKHTAR v DYNAMO HIGHLIGHTS HERE: