Phoenix wins against Chorne More in the key game on the road to the final of the Cup of Ukraine. This victory makes our team finalist of a prestige tournament, but leaves it for one month without Ivan Konkov who is one of Phoenix leaders as he got injured in the game against Odessa players.
The opponents know each other well as they met several times in the previous season. Let’s remind that in the High League of the Championship of Ukraine U15 the violets finished second and Odessa team was the third. Moreover, Kharkiv and Odessa players have already managed to play in this season as well within the framework of the Super Cup of Ukraine U16 in Lviv.
Thus, the game today of the leaders of the Cup of Ukraine group stage started without any special probing. Phoenix was starting the game with few but notable staff problems: two Danylo – Boldyzhev and Zamula, had complemented the team’s infirmary list. But these problems became even more serious in the opening phase of the game, when Ivan Konkov was injured in pretty much the first attack when he clashed painfully with an opponents’ player near the touch line.
No matter what was the game plan envisaged by Odessa players coach Olexandr Girka, it had to be changed already on the second minute of the game after quick goal from Phoenix: Danylo Khodatskyi ended up a corner kick with an accurate shot into the near upper V of Nikita Tiglyaev’s goal.
Chorne More instantly switched to playing in five-players squads, engaging their goalkeeper in every attack. For several minutes the players steadily and widely rolled the ball, but under the pressing of Kharkiv players Maksym Morozyuk made a mistake with his pass, and Nikita Bodnar hit the empty goal of the opponents from the center of the field. To the credit of Chorne More players they succeeded in closing the gap almost at once. It was also due to a bit of luck, as the through pass from Danylo Andrienko found the leg of Danylo Khodatskyi who was on defense, and after deflection the ball hit the net of Volodymyr Lazeba. The referees decided to consider this episode as the own goal from Khodatskyi. Thus the score became 2:1 by the fifth minute and the intrigue in the game was restored.
The second half of the period passed in similar style. Phoenix organized controlled attacks and placed its stake on set pieces, and Odessa players shuffled their goalkeepers, thus Nikita Tiglyaev took his place in the “woodwork” on the defense, and Ivan Belimov played as the fifth player on the attack. Lazeba miraculously turned a dangerous free kick by Chorne More from Andrienko aside into the upper V. Phoenix goalkeeper was also victorious in one-on-one duel against Vinogradskyi whom everyone forgot on the far post. In the next attack Vinogradskyi turned up to be alone in front of the goalkeeper, beat him, but Khodatskyi backed up Volodymyr. Morozyuk broke through along the right flank, but his shot was inaccurate.
Phoenix responded to prolonged activity from Chorne More by a long-range shot from Dolhulia which hit the post. When the countdown of the last minute of the game was on the table, Odessa players converted one more moment into goal. Just like in the case with the first goal, Andrienko made a dangerous cross pass, but this time it was turned home at the far post by Ivan Belimov, who scored the infamous “goal to gloom over in the locker room” and settled the score.
Phoenix started the second period with the same squad, making decision not to substitute Volodymyr Lazeba who played well in the first half of the game. Looking ahead it is worth acknowledging that the coaches were right, and Kharkiv team did not miss goals in the second period. The first minutes passed under domination of Phoenix trying to break through to Chorne More net. The team-special play out of the free kick ended by a shot from Khodatskyi that was blocked by the defenders. However, this was rather a semi-moment, and the beginning of the period itself passed with a large number of mistakes made from both sides and rare intensifications of the game. It was only on the seventh minute that Chorne More managed to grasp the initiative and return to play with the fifth field player.
Tension was growing, the price of the game was too high for both teams. One mistake could decide it all. And it was made by Odessa players. Maksym Dolhulia “cut” a cross pass from Dibrova, sending the ball into the empty goal of Odessa players.
Commentator Artem Terentiev got interested at once who Maksym would dedicate his goal to, as in the previous games he showed number “21”, expressing support for Danylo Boldyzhev who had been injured. This time the camera caught an “eight” shown by Demyd Yevsiukov which meant the number of Danylo Zamula who “got broken” the day before and stayed with his team on the bench.
The equator of the second period marked the beginning of the most interesting and nervous part of the game. Chorne More was keeping to its tactics, methodically rolling the ball over and looking for intensification of the game, and Phoenix concentrated on closing up free zones. A long-range shot from Andrienko passed far from Lazeba’s goal. In response Bezruk made a precise shot into the far upper V, but Ivan Belimov was vigilant. Tenacious struggle became more composed that was largely due to great fatigue of players in both teams.
Bodnar had two semi-moments, but in the first case his shot was turned aside by Belimov, and in the second Nikita made a strike on empty goal from his half of the field, but it was very inaccurate. A shot by Vinogradskyi from several meters was far more dangerous, but Volodymyr Lazeba “folded down” in style and did not let the ball in which was flying between his legs.
Dibrova had a good moment on the last minute of the game, but he did not sort out the situation in the penalty area of Phoenix, and Dolhulia almost used it to his advantage by sending he ball through the entire field in a few centimeters from the post. When 17 seconds were left to the end of the game, Chorne More received the right for perspective free kick, but Bondar’s shot after a pass from Andrienko was very inaccurate, and Phoenix defenders did not allow approaching their goal any more.
For the second time in its history Phoenix will play in the decisive game of the Cup of Ukraine. And, considering serious losses in injured players and the fatigue of boys it is very well that the team resolved the task of passing to the final ahead of schedule without putting it aside for the last game.