Ukrainian football: intrigue in the area of ATO

Shakhtar Donetsk faced a very difficult task as out of the Champions League, with a sharp drop in the level of the national championship, without their fans and the stadium every day to preserve and revive the sense of existence of the Ukrainian superclub in exile.


On Saturday in Kharkov revived the intrigue of the championship of Ukraine on football Kiev “Dynamo” suddenly beat “Shakhter” 1:0 and now, five rounds before the end championship of the tournament leaders are separated by only three points. The last game of the championship, by the way, just – “Dinamo” – “Shakhtar” – and she will be in Kiev.

To an outside observer, this result is akin to a miracle. Ukrainian championship because of the war and the accompanying “lack of food” were narrowed to 12 clubs for the first time season on the new formula at the second stage of the champion is determined by the top six teams. But even the “six strongest” is impossible to retouch a simple and blunt fact – the budget of Shakhtar significantly larger than the combined budgets of all other, strong and weak, Ukrainian clubs of all leagues combined.

Now the annual expenses of the Pitmen estimated at about 80 million dollars, Dynamo 25-30 million, and a pair of the most prosperous “persecutors” of leaders from six of the strongest fit into the budgets of 2-3 million a year. The others, respectively, spend much less.

Shakhtar successfully passed the Champions League group stage, leaving behind Napoli and almost passed sensational now together with “Barcelona” Italian “Roma”, preserved in winter, of all their leaders and summer’s going to sell the Brazil midfielder Fred for a record 70 felts $ 80 million. And after the sale of the collections of Brazil, the club still remain.

Dynamo modestly, but confidently out of the group “only” the Europa League and flew in the encounter with Lazio. The people of Kiev during the winter had lost the centre of his defence – sold to Turkey Croat Domagoj mind and after a conflict with the coach stops play not extending the contract with the club Yevhen Khacheridi. In addition, the best striker in the championship, the Brazilian Junior Moraes also did not extend the contract and not without reason, say Ukrainian media, is on the verge of signing a contract as a free agent with the Donetsk “Shakhtar”. “Dynamo” following the principle: “On clothes stretching legs” – strums pupils of the club Academy, reinforced by a pair of talented young Europeans for the future new homegrown great team. Which may not happen.

And with all this the result of the match in Kharkiv for the Ukrainian fans is not a surprise. Already in three consecutive official games against Dynamo, the Donetsk club this season failed to score against the eternal enemy. Three games gave a goalless draw and two victories “Dynamo” with the score 1:0.

To deter attacks by “miners” wards of Alexander Khatskevich at least learned.


“I must admit a well-deserved victory of “Dynamo” in a match where we didn’t show our level. Also, until you began to ask questions, I want to, without any irony to congratulate the referee with quality work” – with these words began his press conference after the game, the Pitmen’s head coach Paulo Fonseca.

His team got the only goal after an inexplicable mistake of the defender – David Khocholava suddenly gave his free pass at the foot of the player of the opponent. A young resident of Kiev Shepelev just skillfully took advantage of the gift. But none of the “owners” not lamented fate, mistakes and refereeing.

Despite the fact that on Saturday in Kharkiv were a couple of tough clashes of players on the verge of a fight, knocked out in a collision with Denys Harmash tooth Yaroslav Rakitskiy, the destruction of the captain of “Shakhtar” Brazilian taison, the usual voltage of the main Ukrainian Derby was not felt. Very strange to not smell of scandal. Coach of Kiev Aleksandr Khatskevich were beaming with happiness – he third time in the season could stop Shakhtar, and all those involved in the Pitmen have digested the defeat against archrivals. “You know, I have not seen such a relaxed Shakhtar shared with me in the mixed zone counterpart. “The feeling that all our today was a temperature” – sad joke played with the temperature of the Shakhtar goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov.

His team looks really entered the field with a calm belief that to win they have Dynamo does well not be. All the good stuff in this match happened before the game.


At work club car Shakhtar’s extremely interesting to watch from the sidelines. “Shakhtar” for every “home” game flying from Kiev to Kharkiv, a city that still cherishes its destroyed fled to Moscow President of the club “Metalist”. To assemble the podium in these circumstances is quite a feat. On Saturday the game was almost 27 thousand fans, in the past, “Derby” for comparison they were 9 thousand About as many (9 percent) consistently collect on their stands the most visited club in the Ukrainian championship FC “Mariupol”.

Efforts to attract fans used extraordinary. To promote the match started for a few rounds before the arrival of Dynamo Kiev. The game promised a real show until the first performance at the games in Kharkiv national anthem of Ukraine Kharkiv live famous singer. For the first time in the history of Ukrainian championship (in Russian I also don’t remember) announced auction – you could buy a seat on the bench of Shakhtar! Two guys paid for it at 20.5 thousand hryvnia (about 49 thousand). For the money of the fans were not there Now, but on two chairs pockmarked with Shakhtar bench is usually designed to backup referees. And required when Fonseca walk in the day of the match these guys also went to town with the team.

“Neither Mourinho or Guardiola would not let outside people to the team before a key League game. You can be sure of that!” irritably, I wrote from Donetsk after the game, an elderly and respected the fans of Shakhtar. In Donetsk on this day due to an accident five hours there was no Internet to view most of the translation was impossible (by order of the authorities of the breakaway Republic TV channels from Ukrainian cable networks have long disconnected with football) and fans collected information about the twists and turns of the match where possible.

About football news and the truth have become the main before the game. It is still unclear, for example, will do with the Donetsk club contract Paulo Fonseca. The Portuguese was officially asked to extend it after winning the home game against Roma, but the outstretched hand of Shakhtar suddenly hung in the air. The coach took a break for reflection, the negotiations, the contract with the coaching staff ends in the summer. “There is no deadline or fixed date for ending the talks” very calmly explained after the lost game against Dynamo Fonseca.

On the eve of the Ukrainian media spilled the info about the Ukrainian novel of the coach. From Fonseca Ukrainian girlfriend – acting press Secretary of Rinat Akhmetov Katerina Ostroushko. The Portuguese without a scandal divorced his wife and lovers for more than six months did not hide their relationship, but writing about it became for some reason right now. Mostly question will contribute to the love in Kiev, signing a new contract?

It is obvious that some leaders will leave the club at the end of the season – the Brazilian Bernard ends contact, there are serious proposals to Fred, Stepanenko, Facundo Ferreira. Who is going to build a new team – a very important issue. Equally important is the question who and how will be able to further motivate on the “basic” game with the same “Heather” from Exactly.

The Western club this season after a long absence, returned to the Premier League, made up of experienced players, not have come to court in other clubs and immediately made his way into the top six. On the sidelines of the game in Kharkov heard about how “Heather” got into Saturday’s game with FC “Mariupol”. The team rented a relatively decent compartment car, and she drove 29 hours by normal train 070Л “Lviv – Kyiv”. Its administrator was not able to tolerate such a long way and went via Kiev high-speed train to Zaporozhye, but the last 280 kilometres to Mariupol on the machine overcame 6(!) hours. The highway from Kiev to the zone of the ATO looks like the last four years, it was constantly shelled with artillery. These solid pits and went after lost 0:2 match from Mariupol “Veres” back to Lviv by bus to Zaporozhye by train to Kiev, and then another one home.

Aircraft in Ukraine now flying only Shakhtar and Dynamo, but they are forced to ride from Kiev to Mariupol by bus. From the nearest to the area of the ATO airport.

In August 2017 Dynamo Kyiv by decision of the President of the club with the scandal refused to go to play with FC “Mariupol” for “security issues” and got technical defeat. For the lost three points, the people of Kiev has long struggled in all instances up to the court of arbitration for sport in Lausanne and everywhere lost. A special irony is that these lost games without three points at the finish of the championship and shared the now “Shakhtar” and “Dynamo” in the title race.

Which suddenly revived on Saturday in Kharkov.

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