The Cup of Ukraine held all its participants in suspense even before the first starting whistle. Late on Sunday evening, half a day prior to its start, two teams at once out of six had informed that they would not be able to participate. Olimpia-Dnipro from Dnipro and Olimpic from Slobozhanskyi were hastily replaced by Sports School “Volna” and Sports School Valki. Both teams arrived at the starting game, as they say, fresh off the boat. But the opponents both for the trainees of Viktor Detyuk and even more so for the trainees of Oleksandr Kuzmenko with Konstantin Tatarenko were well known. Not so long ago players from Valki had already played against Odessa players within the framework of Chornomorsk Cup U16, and Phoenix and Sports School Volna play against each other so often anyway, that it seems they studied each other in every detail. But never had both these teams played against each other at such a high level.
The first period started at Phoenix’s bidding. The team seized the initiative and methodically played out the ball at the opponents’ half of the field, sometimes heating up situation in the field. Gradually Phoenix’s attacks were becoming more and more dangerous, and in the empty hall of Sport Complex “Locomotive” emotional voice of commentator Artem Terentiev started sounding louder and louder. As the phrase goes, the goal was becoming imminent, and finally it was scored: Danylo Khodatskyi made a successful tackle in the center of the field, struggled against several defenders and made an elegant cross to Maksym Dolhulia and Artem Shevchenko to bring them one-on-one with Oleg Agaphonov; Dolhulia was not greedy and provided a chance for his partner to open the score in the game.
Volna coaches immediately went for a time-out to rearrange the pattern of the game. For a certain time they managed to shift the ball away from their goal, but Demyd Yevsiukov was playing flawlessly on the defensive, not letting the “light-green” reach Volodymyr Lazeba goal. Then in the next build-up attack by Phoenix Khodatskyi seized an opportunity to strike from ten meters and the score became 2:0.
After the second ball they had let in, Volna finally “woke up” and rushed forward, but the shots from strikers were confidently saved by Lazeba. Upon repelling the onrush of the opponents, Phoenix went to counter-offence. Olexandr Bezruk wittedly disposed his opponent of the ball at the wing and made an assist to Nikita Bodnar who only had to put his foot forward and direct the ball into the empty net.
Several minutes before the end of the period Serhii Hrytsenko and Yurii Vashchenko took a one-minute pause to make a throw-in, but an unsuccessful throw-in from behind the touch line led to quick counter-attack that was rushed by Agaphonov, and Gospodenko went one-on-one with Lazeba, leaving no chances for Phoenix goalkeeper. Nothing interesting happened in the field during the last two minutes of the game and the teams went for the break with the score 3:1.
The second period was started by the teams with new goalkeepers: places in the “woodworks” were taken by Eldar Bratchuk for Phoenix and Artem Rybin for Volna. At once the trainees of Oleksandr Kuzmenko could narrow the gap, but long shot from Velkhivskyi stroke the crossbar of the goal, and one minute later one more shot was cleared by Bratchuk.
However, Phoenix calmed down its fans immediately by scoring the next goal: a precise pass from Dolhulia was turned home by Khodatskyi. Velkhivskyi looked the most active in Volna squad during these minutes, but it was his loss of the ball that gave a chance for Bodnar to complete his assist, and for Yevsiukov to take the score to 5:1.
Coaching staff of the violets provided an opportunity to prove themselves for Danylo Zamula and Vladyslav Khrypchuk. Both looked fine and did not fall out of the game. An excellent moment was missed by Maksym Dolhulia who sent the ball over the net. In these minutes Dolhulia was the most active one in the field, giving targeted passes and trying to hit the opponents’ goal on his own.
In response Volna players switched to playing with a fifth field player. The team succeeded to score one more goal, using an inaccurate pass from Phoenix defender: Zaika stumbled out one-on-one with Bratchuk and beat the goalkeeper from the second attempt.
During the closing minutes the game settled down, the teams were obviously waiting for the game to come to its close. Five Volna players attacked together, and the violets took advantage of the opponents’ mistakes whenever possible: Maksym Dolhulia and Mykhailo Soldatenko managed to score from their half of the field with their shots. The final whistle marked Phoenix victory in the starting game of the play-out of the Cup of Ukraine with the score 7:2.
Tomorrow our team will have to play in two games at once: against Sports School Valki at 11:30 and Sokil from Khmelnytskyi at 15:00.