The last match of the group stage in major tournaments is often decisive and makes it possible to determine who will advance to the next round and with whom the playoffs are to be played. Phoenix's game today against Novy Buh Youth Sports School was not one of those matches. It had no tournament value, since Phoenix had already booked a way to the playoffs from the first position, and even recognized an opponent in the semifinals: it was the Valki Youth Sports School, which took second place in the parallel group. In a similar situation, on the eve of the game against the most fundamental rival, the coaches of Phoenix gave rest to Volodymyr Lazeba, as well as to Danylo Boldyzhev and Danylo Khodatskyi, who had received micro-injuries. Danylo Zamula and Demyd Yevsyukov played great in their four-payer squads in the positions of Khodatskyi and Boldyzhev. Eldar Bratchuk, the goalie, played above all praise, having scored an assist and a goal, too.
Phoenix’ first four-player squad in the match included Zamula, Soldatenko, Konkov and Shevchenko. The second one included Yevsyukov, Bezruk, Bodnar and Dolhulia. Shevchenko had an excellent chance to excel but lacked a split second to turn home Ivan Konkov's cross. Even Eldar Bratchuk, the goalkeeper, went ahead in one of the attacks, but after his kick and a rebound, the ball hit the crossbar. In the return attack, only at the cost of a yellow card Konkov managed to stop Novy Buh’s striker, Dibrova's free-kick hit the goalkeeper and the wall. In the middle of the half Phoenix managed to make a throw-in, Mykhailo Soldatenko came to the shooting position, but Nazar Dada - the goalkeeper of the opposition managed to save his kick and Shevchenko's finishing move. After one more out, Maksym Dolhulia got his moment, but did not kick hard enough.
Mykyta Bodnar - the same player of Phoenix, who did it in two previous match-ups - opened the scoring. He took advantage of Demyd Yevsyukov's through ball that crossed the entire court after an unsuccessful corner kick, and outplayed the goalkeeper with an accurate shot. No sooner had Vasyl Yeryomenko's players put the ball into play, when Maksym Dolhulia intercepted it, beat the goalkeeper and rolled it into the empty net, making the score 2:0.
A couple of minutes later, all the same three - Yevsyukov, Bodnar, Dolhulia - could have increased Phoenix’ advantage, but Phoenix’ forward failed to score from a vantage point. The players of the team from the Mykolaiv Oblast tried to counter Phoenix’ combination play, but the straightforward long-range strikes became easy prey for Bratchuk. An exception was Dibrova’s long-range shot that, after a ricochet, whistled in the air some centimeters from the upper V. It is noteworthy that a minute later Yevhen Tchobanu performed a similar kick from the other flank and hit the crossbar, too, but the forward failed to ‘unseal’ Phoenix’ goalmouth.
Having restrained the attacks of the players of Novy Buh Youth Sports School, Phoenix excelled for the third time: Eldar Bratchuk sent the ball from his gate exactly to Artem Shevchenko, and the pivot of the Kharkiv team turned round and slotted past the goalkeeper - 3:0. A minute later, Phoenix had a similar attack, but this time Shevchenko rolled the ball to Zamula who was running in. The latter lobbed the goalkeeper of the opposition skillfully - 4:0.
Having achieved a comfortable advantage in the score, the Kharkiv futsal players finally freed themselves up. Eldar Bratchuk several times quickly accelerated the attacks of his team, almost cutting off his teammates, though. In the first case, Nazar Dada managed to strike across the entire field with the ball hitting the crossbar of an empty goal. In another episode, the striker of the rivals shot past the empty goal. Until the end of the half, Mykyta Bodnar and Oleksandr Bezruk had their chances to excel, but the score remained unchanged.
The second half began according to a scenario that was quite familiar: Phoenix relied on set pieces and Vasyl Yeryomenko's players, unable to get near to the goal, were delivering long-range shots. At the end of the first minute of the second half, the score was 5:0 - the corner kick ended with an accurate long-range shot by Artem Shevchenko. Following his teammate, Maksym Dolhulia also excelled, however, in a negative sense, earning a yellow card just like that.
The sixth goal of the Kharkiv team was scored by Demyd Yevsyukov, whose run-up was noticed by Oleksandr Bezruk at the right moment. The latter shot accurately in-between the defenders. For some time, the teams played without any scoring actions, standing out only in physique and active one-on-ones.
In the middle of the half Phoenix’ coaches gave a rest to Demyd Yevsyukov, who was replaced by Vladyslav Khrypchuk. Finally, the first dangerous moment in futsal terms was created by Novy Buh players at the Phoenix goal after the loss of the ball by Bezruk but our goalkeeper coped with the one-on-one. Moreover, in the return attack, Bratchuk once again went forward boldly, beat the defender, and delivered a productive shot.
However, the violets failed to finish the match in a draw: Dmytro Dibrova from an awkward position contrived to shoot exactly into the corner of Bratchuk's goal and took the score to 7:1.
For the last two minutes, Phoenix’ coaches let the fifth field player into the court. In the absence of Boldyzhev, Artem Shevchenko put on a crimson T-shirt. However, the very first attack ended with Demyd Yevsyukov losing the ball that ended up in Phoenix’ empty net. But soon the game of five went as it should, Ivan Konkov getting through to the goalkeeper of the opposition making the score 8:2.
Having won all the matches in its group, Phoenix gets through to the semifinal from the first position. Tomorrow at 12:30 we will have to compete for the final with Valki Youth Sports School.