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The modern club was created on 10 April 1964 on decision of the Football Federation of the Soviet Union merging the October Revolution factory (Luhanskteplovoz) sports club Zorya and the Luhansk regional branch of "Trudovye Rezervy" sports society. Today, the modern club considers the factory team as its predecessor that was established back in 1923.

• Biggest away win 0-3: KF Laçi v Zorya 10/07/14, UEFA Europa League second qualifying round first leg

• Luhansk's biggest sporting claim to fame may be as the birthplace of pole-vaulting maestro Serhiy Bubka – a 35-time world record breaker. However, Zorya have not played a European home game in their home city since 1973, their recent renaissance coinciding with the political problems in eastern Ukraine. Since 2014, they have held most of their home matches in Kyiv, while for the UEFA Europa League group stage they will be switching to Odesa.

FC Zorya Luhansk (Russian: ФК «Заря» Луганск [zaˈrʲɑ luˈgɑnsk] Ukrainian: ФК «Зоря» Луганськ [zoˈrʲɑ luˈɦɑnsʲk]), formerly known as Zorya Voroshilovgrad and Zorya-MALS, is a Ukrainian football team. Zorya Luhansk is based in the city of Luhansk (formerly known as Voroshilovgrad), Luhansk Oblast, Ukraine. However, because of the war in Eastern Ukraine, the team is currently playing its games at Slavutych-Arena in Zaporizhia.

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The statistics is based on information from the club's official website.[14]

Man Utd start their Europa League campaign this week with a trip to Rotterdam before Zorya Luhansk visit Old Trafford later this month.

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Zorya have thrived in adversity. Their players have reportedly not been paid in six months – not an uncommon story in modern Ukraine – but despite that and despite playing away from home they finished fourth in the league last season, their highest placing since surprisingly lifting the Soviet title in 1972. They have continued their form this season, Saturday’s 2-1 win over Vorskla leaving them second in the table.

After liquidation of Avanhard in 1959, in 1960 in Luhansk was revived the October Revolution (OR) Factory team.[6]

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In 1938 "Dzerzhynets" became the champion of Ukraine after having won 9 games and having played 2 games in a draw. It was admitted to the Soviet First League.

As for United's opponents, well, not too much is really known about them, so we've come up with this short profile of the visiting team...

Nobody doubts that Vernydub is the real star of Zorya. The 50-year-old had a journeyman career in the 80s and 90s as a defender or midfielder, playing 112 games for Metalurh Zaporizhzhya and 76 for Torpedo, the other club in the city, before a late-career flourish at Zenit St Petersburg, with whom he won the Russian Cup in 1999.

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• Zorya cannot wait to get started in the UEFA Europa League proper. "It's more like a Champions League group than a UEFA Europa League one," said forward Jaba Lipartia, defensive team-mate Mikhail Sivakov adding of their daunting opposition: "We are all human. I would love to prove myself against teams like this." Goalkeeper Oleh Chuvaev noted: "Before this, we only watched the Champions League and Europa League on TV, but now we are involved – it's all been worth it."

The first Luhansk team was created in the Russian Empire in 1908 when the workers of the Russischen Maschinenbaugesellschaft Hartmann created the "Society of wise recreations". The football section was headed by the Czech specialist Henrich Drževikovski from Prague who was an instructor of gymnastics of the factory's ministerial school. That team played its games and conducted its training on the empty lot near the factory where today is located the sport hall "Zorya".

Anthony Martial could also return after an ankle knock, while fringe players such as Michael Carrick and Morgan Schneiderlin are also expected to get a game.

They moved to Zaporizhzhya, 400km to the south-west, where they play home games at the Slavutych Arena. Its address, just over the road from the Museum of the History of Warfare on Bulvar Lobanovskoho, gives an indication of Zaporizhzhya’s main place in Ukrainian football history: it was there in May 2002, leading his Dynamo Kyiv side against Metalurh, that Valeriy Lobanovskyi collapsed in the dug-out, dying a few days later in hospital.

A big name in the Soviet Union in the 1970s reborn as a fast, aggressive side under Yuriy Vernydub, gets the inside line on Ukraine's Zorya Luhansk.

“As for them underestimating us, I doubt it will be the case. In light of our recent results, I think United will take us seriously. Every player dreams of playing against such clubs as United. Apart from on a computer game, it was difficult to envisage a game between United and Zorya a few years ago. To be honest, I haven’t even dreamt of playing at Old Trafford, but I hope that I will.”

Fred Crossman from Ripon celebrated a massive £250,000 payout thanks to the Soccer Saturday Super 6 game.

In 1937 "Dzerzhynets" won the 1st place in the Ukrainian second league and was promoted to the Ukrainian first league. Moreover, it reached 1/8 final of the Ukrainian Сup and 1/16 final of the Soviet Cup. The team consisted of the following players: Klad'ko (coach), Grebenyuk, Svidyns'ky, Mazanov, Morozov, Krasyuk, Nosko, Movchan, Brovenko, Chernyavs'ky, Voloschenko, Lokotosh, Sytnikov, Evdokymov, Myroshnikov, Ischenko.

• Often represented in national-team squads, Zorya enjoyed a breakthrough when left-back Eduard Sobol started the recent 1-1 FIFA World Cup qualifying draw with Iceland. Two other Shakhtar loanees, wingers Olexandr Karavaev and Ivan Petriak, are reckoned to be the stars of this Zorya side, though at international level they are understudies for Ukraine's biggest names, Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevhen Konoplyanka.

So, unperturbed, Eugene tells me: "The situation is not so bad, really. I can say with confidence that the club will live on."


Due to a bleak performance of "Avanhard", in 1957 in the city of Voroshilovhrad was revived another club "Trudovi Rezervy"[4] which this time was formed out of students of the Leningrad Technicum of Physical Culture and Sports (today College of Physical Culture and Sports of the Saint Petersburg State University).

He returned to Zaporizhzhya and worked as a coach at Metalurh before becoming the assistant manager of Zorya in 2009. When Anatoly Chantsev was sacked in 2011, Vernydub was placed in temporary control, taking the job permanently after a 0-0 draw with Dynamo.

Reacting to the draw, Mourinho said: "We think we are in Champions League, very similar groups in the Champions League. It is difficult group but it is good.

The Europa League draw could have been kinder to Manchester United.

Editor, Manchester Evening News editor-in-chief MEN Media and Trinity Mirror Huddersfield

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

• Heaviest home defeat 0-1: Zorya v Legia Warszawa 20/08/15, UEFA Europa League play-off first leg 0-1: Zorya v FC Spartak Trnava 07/11/73, European Champion Clubs’ Cup second round second leg

• Heaviest away defeat 4-3: Feyenoord v Zorya 21/08/14, UEFA Europa League play-off second leg 3-2: Legia Warszawa v Zorya 27/08/15, UEFA Europa League play-off second leg

During the already ongoing 1964 season and playing several rounds, on 10 April 1964 the Soviet Football Federation issued its decision about merger of two clubs "Trudovi Rezervy" and OR Factory team (SC Zorya) into FC Zorya Voroshilovhrad.[7]

In 1972 Zorya did not only win its only Soviet championship, but also represented, re-enforced with only three players from other clubs, the USSR at the Brazilian Independence Cup (Taça Independência) mid-year. However, only Volodymyr Onyshchenko represented the club at the Final of the European Football Championship few weeks earlier.

Zorya have particular reason to want to be known: their very existence in European competition feels like a triumph. In June 2014, the Ukrainian club were forced to flee Luhansk because of the conflict with pro-Russia separatists who founded the Luhansk People’s Republic. Zorya’s home ground, the Avangard Stadium, suffered heavy shelling.

Rob Irvine was appointed editor-in-chief of MEN Media and Trinity Mirror Huddersfield in April 2012.

Rob joined Trinity Mirror in 2001 and was editor of the Daily Post North Wales for seven years. He was also publishing director for Trinity Mirror North Wales and Cheshire.