Rapid vs Shakhtar: players’ reaction
Players of the Donetsk team have reflected on the victory in Vienna.
Marlos, Shakhtar’s midfielder:
- I am very happy to have scored. I am happy to have received that pass from Yaroslav – he's a good defender! We practiced that combination during training sessions. However, there were elements of improvisation in that episode: I took a shot with not my preferred foot, plus the ball flew into the net after taking deflection off the goal post. The whole match was very tense. It was raining, there were injuries, head injuries, because the players gave their all on the field... Everything was done to get a win! That game was harder for us than the matches against Fenerbahce because Rapid are streamlined well. This team are well prepared tactically and the players interact in an excellent manner.
Yaroslav Rakytskyy, Shakhtar’s defender:
- We were expecting such a difficult match. Mister was telling us that it would be a tough, aggressive game. Today, the opponents applied pressing very well, but, thank God, we have kept a clean sheet. Rapid display a strong collective game in attack and defence. There were a lot of episodes: in one of them the opposition player handballed while challenging for the ball against Kucher, in another episode someone hit Stepanenko with a forehead. Taras was taken to hospital to have stitches... As for the match itself, I will say this: Mister tells me to join counterattacks and set pieces. So I stayed, did half the job; I made a pass to Marlos, who played well inside the penalty area to have sent the ball into the far corner of the net. I, of course, had a couple of chances, but I, unfortunately, did not convert them - I'll work on that.
Taison, Shakhtar’s midfielder:
- Rapid have changed a lot since I faced them as part of Metalist. This club have become stronger in many respects. Yes, they do not have big names. But in modern football a squad do not necessarily have to have big stars. Our opponents are a well-drilled team. Now Rapid are doing a fantastic tactical job! Today, of course, the rain affected the game a little. There are a lot of fast players at Shakhtar, and here we often slipped, fell... Although I would like to note that there were a lot of individual battles on the field. But this is football, there are a lot of contacts. Kucher and especially Stepanenko suffered. In general, we have made the first step before the second leg in Lviv. I'm sure it’ll be also difficult. So we have to fully focus on the meeting, because Shakhtar deserve to continue the Champions League campaign.
Oleksandr Kucher, Shakhtar’s defender:
- Rapid are a physically strong and well-trained team. It was expected that there would be a lot of challenges and individual battles. It is difficult to say whether some errors and losses of the ball took place because of the wet field... Still, Rapid closed us down, went forward and tried to fight back, because of that there were many challenges. Nobody wanted to concede goals. It is good that we managed to hold onto a win. The last matches of Rapid have shown that they know how to take points in the final minutes. In any case, we cannot relax, because the second leg will not be easy. With regard to Beric, he is a good tall striker; he fights until the end in every episode. It is necessary to find ways to prevent him from having playing space. As for Taras Stepanenko, I know that he bad cut. If I am not mistaken, he has had seven stitches.