Ukrainian football's leading light once more, FC Shakhtar Donetsk made a successful defence of their title on the final day of the league campaign before, four days later, adding a Ukrainian Cup to their ample trophy collection. They did so by overcoming city rivals FC Metalurh Donetsk to earn the fourth domestic double in the club's history and the third achieved under the successful tenure of coach Mircea Lucescu.
Champions: FC Shakhtar Donetsk
For much of the season Shakhtar were trailing in FC Dynamo Kyiv's wake, but they caught their arch-rivals at the summit by defeating them 2-0 with four matches to go. Dynamo then drew at FC Zorya Luhansk on the penultimate day of the campaign, enabling Lucescu's charges to move three points clear at the top. The title was secured on the final day when Shakhtar overcame PFC Olexandriya 3-0 at the Donbass Arena. The Miners garnered 79 points from 30 matches, surpassing their previous year's tally by seven – and leaving them four clear of Dynamo.
Cup final: FC Shakhtar Donetsk 2-1 FC Metalurh Donetsk
Shakhtar required Olexandr Kucher's extra-time goal to secure their second consecutive Ukrainian Cup and their eighth overall. The defender was the first to react to the rebound after Yaroslav Rakitskiy's free-kick was parried by goalkeeper Olexandr Bandura. Alex Teixeira had given Shakhtar the lead midway through the first half before Mykola Morozyuk equalised in the second half. The other highlight of the cup run was Shakhtar's round of 16 defeat of FC Dynamo Kyiv. That 3-2 triumph was the Miners' fifth consecutive cup victory against their arch-rivals.
FC Shakhtar Donetsk – UEFA Champions League group stage
FC Dynamo Kyiv – UEFA Champions League third qualifying round
FC Metalist Kharkiv – UEFA Europa League play-off
FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk – UEFA Europa League play-off
FC Arsenal Kyiv – UEFA Europa League third qualifying round
FC Metalurh Donetsk – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round
* Subject to final confirmation from UEFA
Player of the Year: Willian (FC Shakhtar Donetsk)
Should the Brazilian midfielder, who has been linked with a number of interested clubs, move on in the summer he will do so on a high note. The 23-year-old arrived from SC Corinthians for €14m in 2007 and needed little time to adapt to his new surroundings. The skilful midfielder has won four league titles and Ukrainian Cups as well as the UEFA Cup in 2009. Willian finished the 2011/12 campaign as the league's leading provider with 16 assists and scored five times in Shakhtar's title charge including the opening goal against Olexandriya on the last day of the season. His eye-catching displays led to a first Brazil cap in November.
One to watch: Roman Bezus (FC Vorskla Poltava)
This has unquestionably been the Vorskla midfielder's best season to date. Bezus made an impressive bow in the UEFA Europa League and also claimed his first international cap in Ukraine's 3-3 draw with Germany. Though he failed to make it into Oleh Blokhin's final UEFA EURO 2012 squad, a bright future awaits this exciting 21-year-old, who is already reportedly attracting the interest of clubs abroad.
Surprise package: FC Arsenal Kyiv
Leonid Kuchuk's charges finished fifth in the table to repeat their best ever showing, achieved back in 2003. As a result Arsenal, who were founded in December 2001, will make their European debut in the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round next term. The club, who still do not have their own ground, will stage their home matches at the 18,000-seater Dynamo Stadium, with FC Dynamo Kyiv having moved to the Olympic Stadium recently. Arsenal are a very experienced side, spearheaded by former Dynamo striker Maksim Shatskikh.
Leading scorers: Yevhen Seleznyov (FC Shakhtar Donetsk), Maicon (FC Volyn Lutsk): 14
Relegated: FC Obolon Kyiv, PFC Olexandriya
Promoted: FC Hoverla-Zakarpattya Uzhhorod, FC Metalurh Zaporizhya
FC Dynamo Kyiv did not concede for eight consecutive matches, or 807 minutes, before their defence was finally breached by FC Chornomorets Odesa in their 3-1 league victory on 1 April. They needed to hold on for another 35 minutes in order to beat the record of 841 set by Shakhtar in the 2001/02 season. Kyiv's mark is the fourth best with FC Metalist Kharkiv in second place on 837 minutes (1998/99) and FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in third after their 815-minute shut-out in 1995/96.
"I would rate Dynamo's season as unsatisfactory. What have we done this season? We failed to qualify for the UEFA Champions League last summer, then we failed to qualify from the group stage of the UEFA Europa League. We won neither the Ukrainian Cup nor the league. It was a very bad year."
FC Dynamo Kyiv goalkeeper Olexandr Shovkovskiy, whose misery was complete when a shoulder injury ruled him out of UEFA EURO 2012.
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