Let's face it - Sokil won the Khmelnitskiy Open Cup, and deservedly so. Vitaly Rozpachenyuk's team wanted this not only in two separate matches with Phoenix, it aspired to it in each meeting of the tournament. The strategy of the violets was to win in the confrontation with the key and, frankly, the only competitor in the fight for first place. But having spent all the other matchups ‘walking’ along the court and completely dinterested, Phoenix tried no makeover in attitude for one, even the most important match.
After the first moments - Konkov's hitting the crossbar, Khybovsky’s kick hitting Lazeba in response - it became clear: there was a different pace and a different attitude. Sokil continued its ‘policy’ of strong kicks after the throw-ins. Phoenix did respond: Yevsyukov and Dolhulia had their moments.
The goal Phoenix conceded had come from nowhere. Another long shot after a throw-in, which there were at least a dozen in one and a half matches, suddenly flew into Lazeba’s net. Phoenix did not like the draw that came in the preceding matchup, whereas two goals had to be scored from then on. The team rushed forward and exposed the rear, conceding no balls right then by miracle. At first, Yevsyukov gave a bad pass in the center of the court, but the one-on-one ended with an inaccurate kick. Immediately after that, the unsuccessful deflection from Bezruk in his own penalty area was picked up by Sokil’s striker, the kick of the latter going wide of the goal. Phoenix had a few moments too, but neither Bezruk nor Yevsyukov managed to distinguish themselves, with Soldatenko’s and Zamula’s long-range shots posing no danger to the goalkeeper of the Khmelnytsky team.
Nine minutes before the end of the match, Phoenix went all-in, releasing Danylo Boldyzhev as the fifth outfielder. Unfortunately, this did not bring the desired result. On the contrary, after the first bad pass Boldyzhev in an incredible jump cleared the ball out of the goal line saving the goal from a long shot on an empty net.
Phoenix managed occasional through balls, but to no avail. Another loss of the ball in the attack led to a natural goal, and the score got to 2:0. In this situation, Sokil’s was leading a tactically competent play, extending the time in every way possible.
Phoenix got a good chance, playing three-one after the counterattack; Yevsyukov was late with his pass. In the last minutes of the match the game was played toe-to-toe. Dolhulia first kept the intrigue when he cleared the goal line off a close range shot, the third ball still flew into the goal of Boldyzhev after a breakaway.
The maximum that the team managed to deliver was a consolation goal after Boldyzhev's long shot.
The third day of the tournament makes sense except that in the fight for places 4-5, all other positions are already known. Phoenix comes second. This result disappointed many, but, frankly, the team’s play was bound to decline. It would even be more correct to call it an emotional decline. A positive thing about that is that the decline happened at the tournament in Khmelnytsky. The team will have time to work on its mistakes to be ready for the U16 League Cup that will take place in Kharkiv in April.