Oleksandr Kucher: A full-time footballer and a part-time actor.
Wednesday night saw a clash of the titans in the Ukraine as powerhouses Shakhtar Donetsk took on arch-rivals Dynamo Kiev in the Ukrainian cup. With home advantage, Shakhtar ran out 2-nil winners, however the hosts victory was tainted somewhat by an appalling act of play-acting from apparent hardman Oleksandr Kucher five minutes from time.
The incident arose as Kiev, trailing just 1-nil at the time, were preparing to try their luck with a late free-kick from 20-yards out. As is common in the circumstances, a significant amount of jostling was on show as the Donetsk defence looked to sure up their wall ahead of the set-play.
In particular, Kiev’s Ognjen Vukojevic was making a nuisance of himself just behind the Donetsk wall, as the opposing team’s number fives became embroiled in a petty squabble as the free-kick was being lined-up.
Stupidly, Vukojevic appeared to take his frustrations a little too far and the Kiev centre-half placed a hand on the side of Kucher’s torso. That was all the invitation Kucher needed, with the defender initially reacting by turning towards Vukojevic, only to stop mid-turn and dramatically clasp his hands on his chest as if he’d been shot before thumping down on the turf like one of the many extras in Platoon.
Without question Vukojevic was in the wrong for handling Kucher, and his subsequent red card was hardly a surprise. Nevertheless, Kucher’s show of play-acting was equally as stomach-turning as the defender did everything in his power to milk the situation for all its worth.
The incident can be seen here.