FC Vorskla Poltava are celebrating their first ever Ukrainian Cup triumph after Vasyl Sachko's second-half strike gave them a 1-0 victory over FC Shakhtar Donetsk, the UEFA Cup winners ending the game with ten men.
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FC Vorskla Poltava are celebrating their first ever Ukrainian Cup triumph after Vasyl Sachko scored early in the second half to deliver a 1-0 victory over UEFA Cup winners FC Shakhtar Donetsk.
Mircea Lucescu fielded a full-strength lineup for Shakhtar's final game of the season and his charges began in attacking mood, leaving their opponents to wait for openings on the counterattack. It was Vorskla who broke the deadlock, though, when Andriy Pyatov parried a shot from Jovan Markoski and watched as Sachko dived to head the ball in. Shakhtar's chances of turning the game around then took a major dent when Fernandinho was shown a red card after bringing Markoski down shortly afterwards.
Imperious in Europe, Shakhtar looked a cut above Vorskla in the early stages, creating space with ease thanks to their superior speed and technique. Despite that pressure, courageous defending denied them any real chances to test goalkeeper Serhiy Dolhanskyi, with Fernandinho sending a shot centimetres wide before Jadson finally forced Dolhanskyi into making an excellent save.
At the other end of the pitch, Mykola Pavlov's side struggled to make an impression and lone striker Sachko was given no time on the ball. The underdogs slowly began to threaten, however, first through a Markoski free-kick and then when Dmytro Yesin drew a save from Pyatov. The Ukrainian international was beaten after the break and although Shakhtar continued to dominate possession as they went in search of an equaliser, the dismissal of Fernandinho diminished their ability to unsettle the Vorskla rearguard. The Poltava outfit ultimately held on to clinch their first major trophy since independence.
"The most difficult part for me was the time before the match," said Pavlov. "I told my lads that we must go there and win. I am very happy they heard me. I believe Shakhtar players were surprised by how we pushed them away from our goal. It was the first Ukrainian Cup for me and for the club. Now we will start preparing ourselves for the Super Cup match."
Lucescu blamed Shakhtar's UEFA Cup efforts for their defeat. "First of all I would like to congratulate Vorskla," he said. "They played with great commitment. I asked my players to approach this match with all the responsibility. I told them that a defeat would cast a shadow on our UEFA Cup victory but some of them are still too euphoric. We had very slow transition from defence to attack because our midfielders were not effective enough."