Dnipro-1 0-Zorya Luhansk 1: In this well played match, a share of the spoils would have been fair.

Dnipro-1, who, being comfortably mid-table had nothing to play for, played well and had the better of the 1st Half. Zorya edged the 2nd Half, which was abetted by a red card and a penalty. The sense was that Zorya, as the standings indicate, are better than the Europa Conference League contenders (Kolos, Vorksla and Desna) and, in spite or their place in the table, Dnipro-1 might be, too.

Dnipro-1 played a 3–4–1–2 until the red card, where they switched to 3–5–1.

The playmaker is bunched in amongst the midfielders; he’s slightly further forward than the midfielders, though.

Viktor Skrypnyk’s side lined up in their customary setup: 4–3–1–2.

As with Dnipro-1, medium block for the visitors from Luhansk.

Lucas Taylor (spotlighted), the RWB for Dnipro-1, was a nightmare for Zorya early on. Here he is, making a 4-v-5 counter attack very interesting with his pace and dribbling ability.

It didn’t amount to a goal, but it was good play for the home side.

Zorya have a 6-v-3 man advantage in playing the ball out of the back, but GK Dmytro Matsapura (21), who overall had an impressive match, opted for the agricultural punt downfield.

No Ukraine caps at any level for Matsapura. Could that change?

Zorya have a 5-v-2 in Dnipro-1’s half. The decision is made to go for the player (spotlighted) who is far away but in acres of space. It’s not such a low-percentage pass if no defender is in his vicinity (the pass was completed) and the player who passes the ball has the technique to get it there.

Nice play from both sides, as there would be throughout the match.

A 1-v-3 man disadvantage for the player with ball followed by a 5-v-6 disadvantage downfield. Igor Jovicevic’s side played this one perfectly.

Strong defending all around.

Where are the gaps in the Dnipro-1 defense in this instance. The blue marks indicate the Zorya players being marked by the Dnipro-1 players. Then, a Zorya player (white circle) makes a run (white arrow) that’s seen late by the Dnipro-1 defender (blue circle). That’s where the pass goes, and the stout defending is breeched. The value of movement…

Dnipro-1: easily the best of the mid-table teams.

The home side have a 4-v-6 in the Zorya box, with young, promising striker Artem Dovbyk (23/UKR) on the ball…

What to do?

Dovbyk (circled) dribbles to the by line and plays a great ball to Dubinchak (22, on loan from Dynamo Kyiv), who has inside positioning but misses connecting with the ball outright. What a let off for Zorya!

Sooo close to the 1–0…

Viktor Skrypnyk’s again foray into Dnipro-1 territory, but it looks again as if the doors are shut. there’s the right back in space but it’s a risky pass; the passing lanes to the playmaker (#80) and the right-interior-midfielder are definitely shut off.

Nothing doing, really, especially considering there are two defenders off-screen on the near side to deal with the Zorya right-back.

A few lateral passes are made by Zorya, which only allows Dnipro-1 to consolidate a 5–4–1 defensive shape. Now, *all* the doors are shut.


Shortly thereafter, a huge progressive pass is played to Taylor (blue circle), the aforementioned Dnipro-1 right-back. He races by Juninho, the Zorya left-back, gets the ball, turns the corner and then wins a corner-kick.

Taylor: a nightmare in the 1st Half.

More possession for the visitors, but, due to Jovicevic and his charges, nothing doing.

Dnipro-1 doing everything right defensively. They just need more attacks and situations of goal.

Zorya rob the ball and Juninho is on the move. 5-v-5 and bearing down on goal. What can they make of this?

Could this be the 0–1?

Juninho surges forward, wins a free-kick, but it was missed. A nice attacking opportunity for Skrypnyk’s team after a prolonged drought.

That was the last action of the 1st Half. Dnipro-1 the better side, although it wasn’t a demolition.

Straight out of the gate in the 2nd Half: Jovicevic’s team loses possession, but their high-press is absolutely tenacious. The Zorya player with the ball has few, if any, safe options.

The 4-man polygon has most of the bases covered.

Later, Zorya is on the move, but run into a 3-v-4 man disadvantage.

What happens next?

Zorya moves forward, the playmaker (#80) makes a right turn…and now it’s 2-v-4.

Zorya didn’t always look like a Europa League team on Wednesday.

Now, a situation for the home side, and it doesn’t look promising: a 3-v-4 man disadvantage and particularly tenacious pressure on the ball. Nevertheless, Viktor Skrypnyk’s side has left a gap in their press, creating a passing lane (blue arrow) for Dnipro-1. That passing lane is pursued and the results are good…

The gap in the white polygon is evident.

…pass completed, and now it’s 2-v-2 deep in Zorya Luhansk territory. Furthermore, promising Dnipro-1 center forward Artem Dovbyk (23/UKR) is making an interesting run (blue arrow) against the visitors’ back line.

Could this spell trouble for Zorya??

The pass finds Dovbyk (highlighted) on the move, although it’s slightly behind him. That slows him down a bit, but he’s still able to maneuver forward and strike a powerful shot that forces Matsapura into a diving save.

Nice move by Dnipro-1; if only that final pass was a little better…

4-v-5 man disadvantage for Igor Jovicevic’s side deep in their own territory. Zorya’s press is strong. A medium-long pass is forced and Zorya intercept near midfield. Job done.

Zorya show their quality with a suffocating high press.

Uh-oh. A game changer for Dnipro-1. You know what’s coming…

10-v-11; Zorya man advantage; straight red for Ihnatchenko (blue circle).

First observation (besides that Dnipro-1 switched to a 3–5–1, which I already mentioned): no robust press from Igor Jovicevic’s side.

All ten Dnipro-1 players well in their own half.

In a related note, extended possession for Skrypnyk’s side.

The tide has turned, the game has changed.

Did I mention extended Zorya possessions? This one was, too. It reached the area and Taylor (blue arrow), the Dnipro-1 star from the 1st Half, tried to make a last-ditch challenge on Nazaryna (#29) of Zorya; the result wasn’t good: penalty. It was converted. Immediate superiority after the numeric advantage produced the 0–1. It was a great dribble by the Zorya interior-midfielder.

A great run right into the teeth of the low block pays dividends.

Down 0–1, Croatian manager Igor Jovicevic’s 3–5–1 looks a lot different. They’re taking risks in search of an equalizer.

Dnipro-1, down a man and a goal, is not messing around!

Then, however, several possessions for Zorya that pushed Dnipro-1 back.

Zorya were able to exploit the man advantage and control the match towards the end.

Dnipro-1 did end the match with the ball. Here, we see an 4-v-8 man disadvantage off a throw in. Somehow, the home side got the ball, Dovbyk no less! He had a shot in the area, but it went high and wide. Viktor Skrypnyk’s team ran out the clock in Dnipro-1’s half and that was it.

Dnipro-1 showed enough to merit a point and Zorya’s football in the 11-v-10 period of the 2nd Half had its merits too. The draw would have been fair; Dnipro-1 showed they’re the best of the mid-table sides with the way they played Zorya. Perhaps next season is their year.



Analyzing and scouting The Danish Superligaen and NordicBet Liga.

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