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Home -> Blogs -> Free Kick -> Tournament Review: FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk

Tournament Review: FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk

Feb 29, 2016 15:04

FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk won the 36th edition of the Sait Nagjee tournament. The youth team of the former Europa League Finalist’s did well to showcase a strong, balanced and a combined effort to win the prestigious tournament that was held in god’s own country. Kerala Football fans are known South American Football aficionados and the addition of South American sides Atletico Paranaense and Argentina Under 23 made them famous amidst the fans. The Latin Teams drew maximum spectators in Kozhikodhe’s EMS Corporation stadium. The Ukrainian side was not famous amongst the locals at the beginning of the tournament. However, Dnipro was successful in changing the attitude of supporters towards them as Kerala fans were seen supporting The Ukrainian side in the Finals against fan favourites Atletico Paranense. This was a huge achievement in itself and spoke volumes about the on-pitch efforts made by Dnipro. Let’s dig deeper and look at Dnipro’s progress throughout the tournament.

Group Stages:- Match 1 [ FC Dnipro vs Shamrock Rovers ]

Dnipro won their first match against Shamrock Rovers and the Ukrainian side did so in style, defeating their opponents 2 – 0. Vladyslav Kochergin did well to score in the 32nd minute, after the water break. The goal came as a result of a counter attack which involved a series of quick passes and good movement from Dnipro. The forward beat the keeper from a distance and managed to score one of the best goals in the tournament. As the game progressed, they shifted to playing a 3 – 5 – 2 formation and continued their domination over their European counter parts. The Ukrainian side did well and managed to find the net right after the second water break. Vitali Kiryeyev scored in the 76th minute via a through ball from Yurii Vakulko. Yurii received the ball from a throw in only to pass around the defender to the substitute who not beat the keeper with ease but did well to receive the ball between two Shamrock players. Despite not being able to score a goal, Yurii Vakulko had played a spectacular first game and was the catalyst behind Dnipro’s attack.

- Dnipro's Ihor Kohut in action against Shamrock Rovers

Group Stages:- Match 2 [ FC Dnipro vs Argentina Under - 23 ]

Their second match was an interesting watch as it took 90 minutes for either side to find the back of the net despite registering a huge number of shots on target. Argentina under – 23 did well to hold off Dnipro’s attack but were unable to contain the Ukrainian side in the dying minutes of the game as Yurii Vakulko and Vitali Kiryeyev found their names on the goal scorers sheet for their stoppage time exploits. Dnipro managed to get the lead via Yurii Vakulko when a wasted free-kick effort was not cleared well by the South American side and the Ukrainian player snatched the ball and beat Argentina’s defense and goalkeeper with a well placed shot in the 2nd minute of added time. This was not all as substitute Vital Kiryeyev managed to beat the Argentina keeper on a counter attack. The South American side went in for an all out attack but the Ukrainian player received the ball with no one to mark him and he beat the Keeper with ease to make the score 2 – 0 in the favour of Dnipro. Despite being dominated in the first half, Dnipro did well to find make get back in the game. The Ukrainian side’s display clearly showed that they were in the tournament for a long haul and it was their perseverance that helped them get past the South American side.

- Yurii Vakulko with the ball, against Argentina Under - 23

Group Stages:- Match 3 [ FC Dnipro vs TSV 1860 Munich ]

Dnipro had virtually qualified for the Semi Finals after their win against Argentina under – 23 and Shamrock Rovers. The former Europa league finalist showed what made them exceptional by playing out a hard fought draw against 1860 Munich in their final match of the group stages. Both sides tried to win the fixture using different techniques. Where the German side maintained a highline and played a very attacking game, Oleksandr Svatok and his fellow defenders ensured that their defensive display was enough to hold off 1860. Yurii Vakulko singlehandedly mounted the pressure on 1860 in the second half, especially in the last minutes of the game before being subbed out. The 18 year old midfielder was the star player of the side and was also the architect behind most of Dnipro’s attacks. The Ukrainian side progressed into the Semi Finals with 6 points. They scored 4 goals and conceded in the tournament thus far.

- 1860's Nicholas Helmbrecht jostling for the ball with Dnipro's Lunov

Semi Final:- FC Dnipro vs Watford FC

The Ukrainian side had a very defensive and counter attacking approach to their games in thr group stages but their strategy against English side Watford FC was completely different. Had it not been for Luke Simpson’s exceptional goalkeeping skills, the game would have ended in regular time but the English keeper did well against a very aggressive and attacking Dnipro side. The game saw over 45 shots being taken, most of them by Dnipro and it took 94 minutes to get the first goal of the game. Vladyslav Kochergin scored the first goal from a long range effort when Watford defender failed to mark him and gave him enough space to calmly take a curler. Makhsym Lunov added another when Kochergin made an accurate and well timed last minute pass. The substitute’s first touch was enough to get past the defender and his calm finish beat keeper in the 109th minute. Watford crumble under pressure as the English side scored an own goal when Luke Simpson, who did really well to deny Dnipro the lead in regular time could not judge a Josh Doherty pass and the ball went rolling in Watford’s net to make the score 3 – 0 against them. Dnipro’s attacking prowess was visible from their game-play and it was their nerves of steel and persistent character that made the difference as Watford went crashing out of the tournament.

- Watford and Dnipro in action, Semi Finals II

Finals:- FC Dnipro vs Atletico Paranaense

The Finals were not different from the Semi Finals as the Ukrainian side maintained their attacking approach. The side that was defensive in the group stages performed well as a unit in the finals as the score-line read 3 – 0. Atletico Paranaense had a couple of good chances but it was Ihor Kohut who drew first blood in the first half when he scored a bizarre goal off his back in the 40th minute. Atletico tried to bounce back but Denys Balaniuk scored a goal in the 62nd minute with a calm finish to make the score 2 – 0 in their favor. Dnipro’s dominance over the game was clearly visible and the Brazilian side collapsed in a similar fashion as Watford did in the Semi Finals. Oleskii Larin made the score 3 – 0 when his cross beat the keeper in the 85th minute as it took a nasty deflection of Mauricio Pedro’s clearance. The game was all but over then and the Brazilian side made no impact as Dnipro won the match and the tournament.

- Yurii Vakulko with the ball against Atletico Paranaense in the Finals

The highlight of Dnipro’s tournament may very well be a clean sheet in all 5 matches however; it was not all that was there to this side. Dnipro displayed a balance in their game and that is what set them apart from their competition. They played defensive in the group stages and attacking in the later stages, showing us the depth and versatility in the squad, a trait that made them the winners. The Ukrainian side played with great discipline and it was evident from their movement with and without the ball. Vitali Kiryeyev was the super sub for the side who rescued them from danger a couple of times however it was Yurii Vakulko who caught everyone’s eyes with his dazzling performances. The 18 year old was clearly one of the best talents possessed by Dnipro and was their best performer throughout the tournament. Dnirpo not only won the competition but also won a lot of supporters in god’s own country.

- Dnipro Players Celebrating After Winning the Finals

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