Monday, April 28, 2008

Club Focus - Karpaty Lviv

Arsenal are playing Karpaty Lviv next Sunday, although I'm on holiday so hopefully I'll get to the Obolon game on Wednesday the weather is dreadful today, so it seems like an opportune moment to look at one of Ukraine's most famous teams.

As I have stated before Karpaty were formed in 1963 as an alternative to the hated local army team SKA Lviv. They quickly gained popularity due to the fact that they only recruited local players and quickly became a symbol of Ukrainian nationalism in the most nationalistic of Ukrainian cities. To this very day they are seen as a symbol of nationalism and their president Petro Dymynskiy has called for a cap on the number of foreign players Ukrainian league teams can have. A fact that caused so much trouble with Metalurh Donestsk officials (their club has 20 foreigners on their books) that a deep animosity has grown up between the clubs.

Karpaty were originally formed by members of Silmash club and they joined division 2 of the Soviet League in 1963 before being promoted 4 years later. In 1969 they became the only club in the Soviet Union from outside of the Premier League to win the Soviet Cup by beating SKA Rostov.

A year later Karpaty joined the Premier Division of the Soviet League with the highlight being finishing in 4th place twice in 1976 (that year there was a Spring and an Autumn Championship).

However, this achievement was short lived as the following year Karpaty were again relegated to the 1st division.

In 1979 Karpaty nearly repeated their feet of 10 years earlier when they took on Dynamo Moscow in the Soviet Cup final. This time they didn't manage to win the cup though, and they controversially lost to one of the government's sponsored teams 2-1; the winning goal coming from a penalty in extra time.

In 1981 Karpaty were merged with the hated SKA Lviv team and were renamed SKA Karpaty. The highlight of this period was narrowly missing out on promotion to CSKA Moscow in 1986.

Since 1991 Karpaty have played in the Ukrainian League. Their highest position was 3rd in 1998 and they have finished runners up in the cup twice in 1993 and 1999. 2004, the 13th year of the Ukrainian Championship was definitely an unlucky one for Karpaty as they were relegated. They were promoted again in 2006 and are currently in the bottom half of the table.

Their stadium Ukraina is sometimes used for International games, although a new stadium is currently being built for Euro 2012.

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