U's beaten in AST Cup
Ukranian side Shakhtar Donetsk inflicted a first defeat of pre-season on Cambridge United after an end-to-end Absolute Sports Travel cup tie.
The visitors took a first half lead when Arthur Zagorulko pounced on a mistake from Will Norris to net from close range. But United, who looked dangerous throughout, levelled through Ryan Donaldson’s header.
Shakhtar regained the lead through Andriy Boryachuk, but United got back on level terms when their trialist defender converted a Bobby-Joe Taylor corner. But a fine lofted finish from substitute Rostislav Rusin gave the Ukrainian side victory, though Luke Berry missed the chance to level a minute later when he saw his penalty saved by Grytsenko.
Anthony Howell was given another chance to impress in midfield for the U’s, while an unnamed trialist started alongside Josh Coulson in the centre of defence.
Liam Hughes enjoyed a rare start in a striking ro alongside Delano Sam-Yorke, and had United’s best chances of the half, curling a left-footed effort just over, then meeting a Luke Chadwick cross with a half-volley which was field fairly comfortably by Grytsenko.
Shakhtar were happy to play the game at a slow tempo and wait for their opportunity, which came just before half-time when Norris attempted to dribble round Zagorulko, only to see the striker nick the ball of his toe and slide the ball into the empty net.
United started the second half brightly, with Sam-Yorke and Hunt going close before Donaldson bagged the equaliser, stealing in at far post to head home after Luke Berry had flicked on Hughes’ corner.
Sam-Yorke headed just over, while Berry saw a shot well saved by Grytsenko as United pressed for a second, but it was the visitors who struck next. In the 65th minute, Valery Hryshyn laid the ball back to Boryachuk, who finished beautifully with a curling effort that gave Norris no chance.
United responded well, and were level six minutes later. Taylor’s corner caused chaos, and the trialist defender was able to arrive unchallenged to thump home from inside the six yard box.
However, the winning goal came nine minutes from time, Rusin seizing on a poor clearance from Norris and sending a superb first time lob back over the stranded keeper and into the net.
Even then United could have equalised when substitute Ayrton Bevins was brought down in the box. But Grytsenko reacted well to push Berry’s penalty to safety.
The result means West Ham United are the winners of the inaugural Absolute Sports Travel Cup following a weekend of exciting football packed with goals. The U’s are back in action at the R Costings Abbey Stadium on Tuesday, July 29, when MK Dons are the visitors.
Cambridge United: Norris, Tait (Taylor 45), Hunt, Trialist, Coulson, Hughes, Chadwick, Berry, Howell (Whittall 45), Donaldson (B.Taylor 68), Sam-Yorke (Bevins 76). Subs not used: Dunn, Bonner, Champion, Akintunde, Lowe
Shakhtar Donetsk: Grytsenko, Gonchar, Bezugliy, Duts, Ivanisenia, Kiruhantsec, Hlushak (Shyshka 71), Hryshyn (Shtander 68), Bezborodko (Kovernik 68), Zagorulko (Rusin 63), Boryachuk. Subs not used: Guridov Yefremov
Referee: Dean Whitestone