"This Shakhtar is an ideal opponent for the current Kryvbas" - expert

2024-03-01 11:07 Famous Ukrainian coach Oleksandr Babych shared his expectations for the central match of the 19th round ... "This Shakhtar is an ideal opponent for the current Kryvbas" - expert
01.03.2024, 11:07

Famous Ukrainian coach Oleksandr Babych shared his expectations for the central match of the 19th round of the Ukrainian championship, which will be played next Sunday between Shakhtar Donetsk and Kryvbas Kryvyi Rih.

Oleksandr Babych. Photo by Yurii Yuriev

- "The main event of the game weekend will be the game in Lviv between Shakhtar and Kryvbas, and it will certainly be the central match of the 19th round, and maybe the entire spring part of the tournament," Babych said. " The tension in this match, given the super ambitions of both clubs, is expected to be very high. Shakhtar will be under more pressure, as they are considered the favourites, and this, from a psychological point of view, will be in Kryvbas' favour. We all know perfectly well the style of play of Yuriy Vernydub's teams against the giants - on the counterattack and the result.

- Apart from psychological pressure, what other problems will Shakhtar face?

- After a difficult match against Oleksandriya, Zubkov got injured. He is one of the three key players in Shakhtar's current squad. However, the other two - Sudakov and Neverton, whom I consider a strong player and a good buy - are in the side. I would also note that Shakhtar's defensive problems have not disappeared since the autumn.

- Which will only get worse due to Matvienko's suspension...

- Yes, this is a significant loss for the Pitmen. Given the opponent, a mobile player should take Matvienko's place. I think Bondar will return to the centre of defence, and Lemkin may appear in the starting line-up. With open areas in their own half of the pitch, it will be important for Shakhtar to move forward and select the right players.

- Will Yuriy Vernydub's more solid experience in the UPL be an advantage for Kryvbas, given the relatively recent arrival of Marino Pushic at Shakhtar?

- Yurii Vernydub, once again, knows how to resist the nominal favourites and play very effectively from defence. However, we must remember that Kryvbas has no players of the level of Dynamo and Shakhtar. Vernydub's men will be more relaxed for the match of the 19th round, especially after a successful match against LNZ. And, it should be borne in mind that Kryvbas will be quite happy with a draw in the match with the Miners, while Shakhtar will be satisfied with a victory. In the long run, even second place in the UPL will be a real success for Kryvbas, but for the Pitmen it will be a failure.

- Will the situation with the possible technical defeat of Oleksandriya and the return of two lost points not relax Shakhtar?

- I think it won't, but it won't add any advantages either. Of course, it will be good for Shakhtar's record if they are awarded a technical victory, but everyone remembers how the game in Oleksandriya went. Rotan's team, like Marseille in the Europa League, acted aggressively against the Pitmen in the centre of the pitch and demonstrated how to play with this particular Shakhtar. I think that for today's Kryvbas, Pushich's team is an ideal opponent, who rises high in attack, often goes forward, and will not give up their style

Oleg Semenchenko

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