After defeat in Holland United’s next Europa League fixture sees the side play Ukranian team Zorya Luhansk at Old Trafford. In their first game Zorya drew 1-1 with Fenerbache in the Ukraine conceding an equalizer deep in time added on having led since early in the second half. Luhansk is in the east of Ulraine in what is currently a war zone so the club has been forced to relocate, playing home games at the Slavutych Arena in Zaporizh but as this venue does not satisfy Uefa regulations they played their first Europa League game in Chornomorets near Odessa.
Zorya finished fourth in the Ukrainian Premier League last season behind Dynamo Kiev and Shakhtar Donetsk the two teams who have shared the Ukrainian Championship in all but one season since its establishment 25 years ago and Dnipro Dnipropretrovsk. Their automatic qualification for the Europa League came courtesy of third place Dnipro receiving a UEFA ban. Zorya were also beaten finalists in the Ukrainian Cup final losing 0-2 to Shakhtar.
Zorya claim a foundation in 1923 but the club has taken several forms and been subject to a number of mergers throughout their history; they have been established in their current form since 1964 and whilst they have never won the Ukrainian league they did win the old Soviet league in 1972 and the Soviet Cup in 1974 and 1975. Incidentally as one of the clubs in their lineage was formed by railway workers from the Steam Train Factory of the October Revolution like United they can claim to be a railway club.
Zorya were founder members of the Ukrainian League although they did drop into the second division for a while before winning promotion to the Premier League again in 2003. They have competed in the Europa League in each of the last two seasons but on each occasion have failed to get through the qualifying rounds to the group stages.
The club has a close relationship with Shaktar with their current president Yevhen Heller a former president of the Donetsk club. They are currently heavily reliant on loan players from Shaktar.
Zorya’s team and formation from their opening Europa League game against Fenerbache and manager Yuriy Vernydub
Zorya are managed by former Zenit St Petersburg player Yuriy Vernydub who tends to favour a 4-2-3-1 shape. When the draw was made for the group stage Jose Mourinho stated that he didn’t know much about the side and in all honesty it has proved difficult to find anything out about their tactical approach. They area a fairly young side, dynamic and quick with a reputation for being bold. They have made a strong start to this season and currently sit second in the Ukranian Premier League 5 points behind Shaktar and 1 point ahead of Dynamo Kiev.