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Metalist eager for timely lift against Trabzonspor

Vasyl Kobin is on familiar ground in Lviv and eager to help FC Metalist Kharkiv put a "disastrous result" at the weekend behind them against Trabzonspor AŞ.

Vasyl Kobin is back on familiar ground
Vasyl Kobin is back on familiar ground ©Oleksandr Zadiraka

Ukrainian international Vasyl Kobin has called on FC Metalist Kharkiv to repay their fans after a "disastrous result" on Saturday – victory over Trabzonspor AŞ in UEFA Europa League Group L would be a good place to start.

Metalist were stunned 5-2 by FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in the Premier-Liha, their worst home defeat in five and a half years. At least they can get away to their second home, in Lviv, where they are playing UEFA matches because of the ongoing situation in eastern Ukraine. For midfielder Kobin, at least, it is familiar ground – he was at FC Karpaty Lviv for three years before joining FC Shakhtar Donetsk in 2009.

"It is always a huge pleasure to be back in Lviv," said the 29-year-old. "But now I'm at Metalist and all my thoughts are on the UEFA Europa League, where we have big aims. Tomorrow we are up against a great team. Trabzonspor are good defensively, but we are ready because we want a good result. Our fans are expecting a lot from us after the disastrous result against Dnipro."

An already difficult matchday one task has not been made easier by a host of injuries, with Edmar, Chaco Torres and Ayila Yussuf all ruled out. Coach Igor Rakhaiev is hopeful forward Volodymyr Homenyuk can pass a late fitness test. "The most important thing is for our players to show their best qualities," he said. "Trabzonspor's players are top quality. I think they will cause us a lot of problems."

Vahid Halilhodžić had a memorable summer
Vahid Halilhodžić had a memorable summer©AFP/Getty Images

The Turkish side have been having a few of their own of late, though. They may be less porous than Metalist but they are struggling at the other end – their last three games all ended 0-0. "Yes, we have had a few goalless draws and we've received a lot of criticism from the press," said coach Vahid Halilhodžić. "But it's very good that we have kept it tight at the back – our keeper, Onur Kıvrak, has been in great form."

Halilhodžić says his charges will have to be on their guard against Jajá and company, but ultimately the match could hinge on which team plays the occasion better. "This is the opening fixture in the group so it will be nervy," said the man who this summer led Algeria to the FIFA World Cup last 16. "The team with more confidence will take command. Our goal is to be top by the end of the group stage. It would be very nice to get up and running here."

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