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Ukraine awaits titans' clash

Published: Friday 4 November 2005, 9.53CET
Monthly review: FC Shakhtar Donetsk are two points clear at the top of the table ahead of their 7 November meeting with FC Dynamo Kyiv.
by Igor Linnyk
from Kyiv

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Published: Friday 4 November 2005, 9.53CET

Ukraine awaits titans' clash

Monthly review: FC Shakhtar Donetsk are two points clear at the top of the table ahead of their 7 November meeting with FC Dynamo Kyiv.
With one game remaining until the midway stage in the Ukrainian season, FC Shakhtar Donetsk are two points clear at the top of the table, but that could change as FC Dynamo Kyiv visit their main rivals on 7 November.

Big gap
Neither side have lost in the 2005/06 Premier League, and the result next Monday will decide who enters the winter break as autumn champions, with third and fourth-placed FC Chornomorets Odesa and FC Illychivets Mariupil 12 points behind second-placed Dynamo.

European run
Shakhtar's domestic success has coincided with a fine run in European competition. They have won their opening two UEFA Cup Group G fixtures, although Mircea Lucescu's side did show signs of weakness when succumbing to second-division FC Karpaty Lviv in the Ukrainian Cup quarter-finals.

New signing
Worryingly for Dynamo, Shakhtar have conceded just five league goals all season, and they are also continuing to search for talent with Argentinian left-winger Lucas Mareque reported to have agreed a move from Argentina's CA River Plate.

Demianenko thriving
Dynamo, meanwhile, are still looking for a permanent coach, although caretaker Anatoli Demianenko is doing well enough to keep the pressure off the board. They are also on course to claim the Ukrainian Cup after several big clubs bowed out in the quarter-finals.

Cup shocks
Chornomorets and FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk followed Shakhtar out of the competition as Dynamo held their nerve to beat FC Metalist Kharkiv 1-0. With Oleh Gusev, Florin Cernat and Maksim Shatskikh recently returned from injury, only Goran Gavrancić's absence prevents them being at full strength.

Dnipro moves
Elsewhere, Dnipro are seeking a successor to charismatic coach Evgeniy Kucherevskiy, who left the club only then to be appointed sporting director. The 64-year-old's former assistant Vadim Tischenko was unable to stop Dnipro suffering a second consecutive UEFA Cup Group D defeat this week.

Coaching changes
Meanwhile, Viacheslav Groznyi is in temporary charge at 15th-placed FC Metalurh Zaporizhya, while FC Arsenal Kyiv have hired Oleksandr Zavarov following the dismissal of Oleksandr Baranov after three straight losses.

Last updated: 04/11/05 18.45CET

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