Zhuk's astonishing 29-goal game
ZNTU-ZAS Zaporozhye may have been knocked out of the Men’s Challenge Cup last November, after a narrow aggregate loss to AS SGS Ramat Hashron, but one player stood out on the team.
Left wing Ievgen Zhuk scored 17 goals across the two matches – eight in the first game, which ZNTU-ZAS won 32:27, and nine in the second, when they lost 25:33.
But then scoring highly has become Zhuk’s trademark this season. At the end of January he netted an astonishing 29 goals in a single match, contributing heavily to ZNTU-ZAS’s 46:12 defeat of Polytechnik Lviv in the Ukrainian Superleague. The individual tally is believed to be the highest ever in the competition.
So far this season, Zhuk is the league’s top scorer, with 178 goals from 16 matches or an average of 11 per match. ZNTU-ZAS have only lost four Superleague matches since the 2018/19 season began, including two to Motor Zaporozhye.
In the match against Lviv, Zhuk missed just two goals – a 94% accuracy rate. Of the 29, 21 goals came from fastbreaks and four from penalties.
“I was shocked when I saw the statistics after the match, but during the game I was concentrating not even on our rivals, but on the score in the World Championship final between Denmark and Norway, which was being played at the same time,” Zhuk admits.
“I need to say that 29 goals came from team work, where I was just the player closest to the opponent's net,” he adds.
Zhuk says the match was a challenging one, after the team travelled almost 24 hours by bus to Lviv.
“We were ready to show our best for 60 minutes,” he says. “We were short-handed, but said to each other we’d play to our maximum despite facing an amateur club.
“I never thought about being the best scorer in Ukraine,” the 28-year-old says. “Our goal is to gain the league bronze medal with the young team at ZNTU-ZAS.”
Zhuk is keen to step up his own career, saying: “I want to play at a high level, I'm ready for a new challenge.”Author: Igor Grachev/jh