Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Club Focus - Illychivets Mariupol

I was thinking of going to see Chernomorets take on Arsenal in Odessa for the first game of the season, but it looks more realistic that I'll be watching Dynamo take on the newly promoted Illychivets.

After a solitary season in the first division Illychivets are back in the top division. The previous 10 seasons up until last season they had competed in the Vische Liha and were known as Metalurh Mariupol until the winter break of 2002-2003, although before debuting in the Vische Liha they went under the guise of Azovets Mariupol.

The first time that I saw them play was in October 2000, when they lost 2-0 to Dynamo, I suspect the result will be similar this time.

Up until getting relegated in 2007 they were a steady mid-table team, although they also had some fairly good cup runs and also managed to finish in 4th twice and 5th twice, and also enjoyed a brief run in the UEFA Cup in 2005.

Strangely the season before relegation, in 2005- 2006 was probably their most successful, as they finished 4th and reached the semis of the cup.

They have also had a few heroes on their books in their time including ex -CSKA favourite Serhiy Kostyschin and Konstantyn Babych, who might still be there.

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