Shakhtar Donetsk continued their title defense with another victory to bring their record to three wins out of three. Douglas Costa’s 72nd minute strike was enough for the Hornyaki to secure a 1-0 victory over Chornomorets Odessa. While Shakhtar may have the maximum nine points and sit top of the table, their performances so far have not been particularly impressive. They struggled against both Hoverla and FC Sevastopol, and Sunday’s match was no different. Shakhtar keeper Andriy Pyatov made numerous saves to keep the score level, including a point blank stop from Sito Riera on 41 minutes. Considering the departures of Fernandinho and Mkhitaryan and the numerous new additions, it is only to be expected that Mircea Lucescu will take some time to get the best out of his squad, and it is often said that a true sign of a champion is a team that gets the result without playing particularly well. Shakhtar continue to look to strengthen their squad and have reportedly bid €22m euro for the Confederations Cup and Copa Libertadores winger Bernard of Atletico Mineiro. Next weekend will be the first true test for Shakhtar, as they go up against Dynamo in the Ukrainian Clasico.
Metalist Kharkiv kept pace with the defending champions with a 2-0 victory over Illichivets Mariupol. Marco Devic gave the hosts the lead in the 51st minute with a fantastic effort. He controlled a long ball from Cristian Villagra with his shoulder, beat the defender with one touch, and found the corner of the net with a low strike [see video]. Devic made it 2-0 in the 80th minute as he got on the end of a deflected corner and volleyed it into the roof of the net. It was a well deserved victory for Metalist, who have gotten off to a very promising start to the season ahead of Tuesday night’s Champions League qualifier against PAOK.
Dnipro’s perfect start to the season was brought to an abrupt end by Zorya Luhansk, who have themselves gotten off to a flying start. Dnipro was arguably the most impressive side of the opening two rounds, scoring five goals while giving up none in comfortable victories over Arsenal and Illicvhivets. Against Zorya, however, they found themselves 1-0 down at home within the opening five minutes after a mix up in the box led to an own goal from keeper Denys Boyko. Dnipro equalized in the 37th minute courtesy of a driven low free kick from Matheus, but two second half goals from Mykyta Kamenyuka and Danilo restored Zorya’s advantage and doomed Dnipro to their first defeat of the season. It was a fantastic result for the visitors, who find themselves in third place with 7 points out of 9.
Dynamo’s new boy Dieumerci Mbokani continued his terrific start to the new campaign by scoring his fourth in three matches as Dynamo comfortably saw off FC Sevastopol 2-0. Both Dynamo goals were pieces of artistry; Lukman Haruna gave the hosts the lead with a powerful range strike from thirty yards out in the 14th minute, and Mbokani’s individual effort doubled the advantage six minutes into the second half [see video]. Oleh Blokhin is slowly but surely incorporating all of the new signings into the squad, and though it is very early on in the season the results have thus far been promising. Next week’s clash against Shakhtar will reveal much about the legitimacy of Dynamo’s title challenge. Dynamo were dealt a blow with the news that midfielder Denys Harmash will be out for three months with a knee injury.
Karpaty Lviv have now gone 90 days without a victory at home following a 2-0 defeat to Arsenal Kyiv. Arsenal’s goalkeeper Yevheny Borovyk was the man of the match in this encounter, deflecting everything that Karpaty threw at him. Maksim Shatskikh’s 53rd minute penalty put Arsenal in front, and Dominic Adiyiah doubled their advantage in the 59th minute after some horrific defending from Karpaty. These were the first points of the season for Arsenal, while Karpaty’s new manager has had a poor start to his time in Lviv, with just one point in three matches.
Metalurh Zaporizhya have equaled their win total from all of last season with a shocking 3-0 victory over Volyn Lutsk. Volyn had gotten off to a good start to the season, holding Dynamo to a draw and defeating Tavriya, but were completely outmatched by last season’s last place finishers who only avoided relegation due to bureaucratic issues. With four points and three goals scored just three matches into the season, Metalurh are well on pace to shatter last season’s record of eleven points and twelve goals scored. Hoverla Uzhhorod, another team that finished last season in the relegation zone, also picked up a victory and moved off the foot of the table with a 3-1 result over Tavriya on the road. Tavriya, who have failed to pick up a point so far, look like early relegation contenders (if relegation will take place at all). Finally, Metalurh Donetsk defeated Vorskla Poltava 2-1 on the road to move level with their hosts on 4 points.
Metalist Kharkiv 2-0 Illichivets Mariupol
Karpaty Lviv 0-2 Arsenal Kyiv
Vorskla Poltava 1-2 Metalurh Donetsk
Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 1-3 Zorya Luhansk
Metalurh Zaporizhya 3-0 Volyn Lutsk
Tavriya Simferopol 1-3 Hoverla Uzhhorod
Shakhtar Donetsk 1-0 Chornomorets Odessa
Dynamo Kyiv 2-0 FC Sevastopol
Click the name above to follow Vadim on Twitter