EXCLUSIVE: Shakhtar star Sudakov expects to 'give everything' against Marseille

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EXCLUSIVE: Shakhtar star Sudakov expects to 'give everything' against Marseille
Georgiy Sudakov acknowledges his supporters at the end of the first leg against Marseille
Georgiy Sudakov acknowledges his supporters at the end of the first leg against Marseille
Empower Sports
In Marseille on Thursday evening, Shakhtar Donetsk's Georgiy Sudakov (21) wants to take advantage of the occasion to shine and help his team qualify for the next round of the Europa League. With just a few hours to go before kick-off, he spoke exclusively to Flashscore about the match and his burgeoning career.

90 minutes played, 83% pass success rate, three duels won out of five, organised, calm on the ball, and always positioned to create; after more than two months without competition, Sudakov was one of Shakhtar's most important players against Marseille in the first leg of their Europa League knockout tie, which ended in a 2-2 draw.

"It was a very even game, so maybe the result is fair," the Shakhtar midfielder told Flashscore News France exclusively.

"In some parts of the game, we were in the lead and, in others, they had the advantage. We've just come back from a long break and this match proved that we're ready to start again.

"We fought right to the end against a very strong team and we managed to leave everything in play for the match in Marseille."

At the Stade Velodrome on Thursday evening (21:00 CET), the Ukrainian rising star will be looking to carry his side through in an attempt to secure a famous ticket to the last 16. The objective is very simple and Sudakov knows it: Shakhtar must win.

Sudakov in action against Marseille's Azzedine Ounahi
Empower Sports

An old-school 10 and a generational talent

Flair, vision and progressive runs - that, in a nutshell, is how the Bryanka native can be defined. His potential is indisputable, and many people in the football world claim that he is one of the greatest talents in Ukrainian football.

This is also the opinion of Andriy Vorobey, the former Shakhtar star, who was categorical when interviewed by the website dynamo.kiev.ua: "Sudakov? He's a different category of player. Players fall into two categories: those who play the piano and those who carry it.

"Sudakov is the one who carries the piano. Georgiy is a hard worker who gets very good results."

With his old-fashioned profile, the Ukrainian displays all the qualities of a number 10 - exceptional passing ability, the ability to make a difference from set pieces and creativity. In other words, the perfect midfield profile to complete a three-man midfield in front of a low pivot.

"I'm the kind of player who likes to have the ball. I carry it in attacking moments and help create dangerous moves.

"I like to have total control of the ball. For me, football is like chess. First, you have to beat your opponent with your mind," Sudakov added.

Sudakov celebrating his goal against Barcelona
Empower Sports

It's a wonderful way of looking at the sport. This season, the youngster has racked up 23 appearances for club and country, scoring four goals. In the group phase of the Champions League, he played in all six matches and had the luxury of scoring against Barcelona. In a boiling Velodrome, the man who is inspired by Lionel Messi and Luka Modric will be looking to showcase his qualities.

Possession-based and attacking football

As is the case every season, the problem for the Ukrainian teams competing in the various European cups is how they will look before the February fixtures arrive. For Shakhtar, back in the Europa League after a more than respectable Champions  League pool stage - nine points from a group comprising Barcelona, Porto and Antwerp - the return to competitive action was, from a playing point of view, rather positive.

The Ukrainians pressed Marseille for much of the first half in the first leg, creating a number of chances. At the end of the first half and during the second, Marseille took control and Shakhtar, for their part, were able to stand firm when needed and show the resilience to come back quickly after their opponents took the lead. Not bad for a team that hadn't played since December 13th.

The match at the Hamburg Arena therefore allowed Marino Pusic's players to get back into the swing of things, while obtaining a result that, despite the two goals they conceded, leaves them alive for the second leg.

"We made mistakes in the first leg and conceded two goals. In the second leg, we'll have to be stronger to contain them," said Sudakov.

Sudakov in the colours of Ukraine
Empower Sports

"All we want to do is play possession and attacking football. We want our fans to enjoy watching us. It's a question of fairness and we know it's going to be a tough game. We're going to give everything we've got to progress to the next round."

The mission is simple. There is no question of playing within themselves and, as Sudakov suggests, Shakhtar Donetsk will travel to the Stade Velodrome this Thursday evening with the aim of dominating and bringing home a precious victory.

Taking advantage of the stage

For Vorobey, there is no doubt that if Sudakov maintains his progress and continues to work hard, as well as be a major player in Ukrainian football, he will become an important player in European football.

This is also the opinion of his former coach at Shakhtar B, Fernando Valente: "There is no doubt that Sudakov will become a top player. He would be a good investment for clubs like Manchester City, Barcelona or Liverpool, as his ability to make decisions under pressure is exceptional," he told LUSA in March 2022.

He makes no secret of it. Although he is focused on his club's objectives at the moment, Sudakov admits that he is not indifferent to the idea of moving to a major league: "Of course, I dream of playing in one of the top five European leagues. LaLiga and the Premier League are my favourites. But for the moment, I'm concentrating solely on Shakhtar and on helping the team qualify for the next round.

"I recently renewed my contract with the club and I'm very happy about that. Shakhtar made me what I am today and I'm very grateful for that."

The Ukrainian prodigy is tied to his club until June 2028.
Empower Sports

The Europa League will not be the only major competition in which he will be able to showcase his talents this season. With his national team qualified for the 2024 Olympic Games, Sudakov is hoping to be there for what will be Ukraine's first appearance in the history of the competition.

There are plenty of big events in store for him, but first, he will have to face the test of the Velodrome stadium - follow the action with Flashscore.

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