The Ukrainian Championship this season will be a real challenge for Phoenix. And it's not even that no one, including the coaching staff of the team, has a complete idea of what the violets are capable of today. No practice sessions, no training, no schedule. But also, because the war, in fact, scattered the team throughout cities and countries. Phoenix's composition is unclear when it comes to the team's ability to come to the matches of the convention rounds.
Only this week, for the first time in almost a year, Bratchuk re-joined Phoenix's ranks, Bezruk and Shevchenko came from Germany and Poland specifically for the tournament. It was the second game in nine months for Demyd Yevsyukov. Bringing together the boys who have not played together for so long, who are in different physical shape - is not an easy task.
From the first seconds of the game, Phoenix surprised the fans who have not been following the team since the war started. The top four players who have been keeping in shape by playing in the Khmelnitsky Championship over recent months entered the field. Lazeba, Boldyzhev, Bodnar and Dolhulia appeared with Danylo Bevz - the newcomer, well known for playing for the Sokil of Khmelnitsky. Phoenix did take the initiative, the players ' shots lacked accuracy, though. As for the opponent, nearly the first offensive by Black Sea Ilichivets led to a goal: the throw from the center was taken on the chest and turned home with an accurate roundhouse kick by Volodymyr Stashevsky, whom the Phoenix defenders seemed to have overlooked for a second.
After conceding the goal, the Kharkiv team did not shy away and continued to gradually shake the opponents ' defense. Oleksandr Bezruk and Danylo Boldyzhev missed some good chances. However, there was also danger at Lazeba's goal, so the goalkeeper had to save the team after a witty heel kick, the same as after the one-on-one with Oleksandr Kaplun's players.
At the end of the half, Serhii Hrytsenko took a minute break, after which Phoenix finally equalized the score: Danylo Boldyzhev intercepted the ball in the middle of the court, bypassed two defenders on the right flank, irresistibly shooting with his left foot into the corner of Ilichivets goalkeeper Ivan Veretyany's net. The end of the half was mostly Kharkivite's offensive, leading to a success eventually: Demyd Yevsiukov outplayed the defender on the flank, kicking the ball with his left foot, so that the ball deflected from the defender and into the post, to then cross the goal line. Being the first one to miss the ball, Phoenix, nevertheless, finished off the first half leading the score - 2:1.
The Kharkivites played the second half in a more academic way. Despite the dangerous score, the team was ahead, so it was Ilichivets who had to seek the win back. However, the violets kept controlling the course of the match and the ball without any haste, also using attacking combination play. Ilichivets had several chances after the set pieces have been played, Lazeba's saves were flawless, though.
From Phoenix's end it was Boldyzhev who created the main danger: he nearly scored after a corner cross. Bezruk and Bevz distinguished themselves in individual actions, while Shevchenko did well as a pivot - performing his function diligently. Boldyzhev and Konkov delivered long range shots repeatedly, lacking accuracy, though, while Dolhulia, Soldatenko, Yevsyukov and Bodnar were focused on coordinating the actions of other players and strengthening the defense. At the same time, the team tried to restore playing conditions, recall old connections, and build new ones — with Bevz in the squad. In the last minutes the three Phoenix players scored a quick goal - the last goal of the match. Yevsyukov took the ball from the defender in a tackle, Boldyzhev and Konkov cutting the opponents' defense in two passes so that Danylo scored into an empty net. I
t was Phoenix's fourth win over Ilichivets over the whole timespan the teams have known each other. Also, having scored a brace, Boldyzhev secured the unofficial title of Phoenix top scorer in matches against Ilichivets with his eight goals in the four matches Phoenix played against the Black Sea team.