FC Metalurh Donetsk have suffered a major blow in their hopes of qualifying for the UEFA Cup with the loss of central defender Volodymyr Yaksmanitskyi.
Yaksmanitskyi suffered a knee injury in last Saturday's 3-2 victory against FC Metalist Kharkiv. The 26-year-old former club captain was taken to hospital and has undergone surgery today in Kiev.
With six games to play, Metalurh are third place in the table, three and points ahead of FC Arsenal Kyiv and a further two clear of FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in fourth and fifth places. With the Ukrainian Cup final being contested between FC Shakhtar Donetsk and FC Dynamo Kyiv, both of whom look likely to qualify for the UEFA Champions League by finishing in the top two, an additional UEFA Cup place will probably be handed to the team that finishes fourth in Ukraine.
"We will miss Yaksmanitsyi, especially in a key game against [FC] Dnipro [Dnipropetrovsk] this Saturday," said coach Olexander Sevidov. "A UEFA Cup place is at stake, and the loss of a key defender will surely cost us." Yaksmanitskyi, who was with Shakhtar before moving across the city in 1999, has scored 14 goals in 145 league games in Ukraine. He was capped 18 times for Ukraine's Under-21 side.
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