Real Madrid vs Shakhtar: players’ views

Players of the Donetsk team have reflected on the first match in the Champions League group stage.

Taison, Shakhtar’s midfielder:

- We are very upset. In the first half, by and large, Shakhtar showed quite a good game, but then there was a mistake... It was not only a Pyatov error, but the whole team’s! Perhaps we can say that we had a good first half, but, of course, the final result is very disappointing. I think the upcoming match against PSG will be game of the year for us. We hope that Arena Lviv will be full of our fans, who will help Shakhtar bag such an important victory.

Oleksandr Kucher, Shakhtar’s defender:

- The key moment of the match was the first penalty kick against us. Still, when 2-0 down, it is hard to play being reduced to ten men. And that penalty kick... In my opinion, it was awarded by the referee, who was behind goal; one could not see anything from there! It was another penalty kick awarded against us by a referee, who is behind the goal - and it becomes crucial again! The same happened in Munich, for example. As for the second penalty kick against us, now it is hard for me to say whether the ball hit the hand or not. The thing is that we are not given such penalty kicks. Of course, there are games, in which there are more penalty kicks are awarded, but they are at least fair. But not when the ball hits the back... As for the first goal, there is no need to blame Andriy, everyone makes mistakes. Naturally, the team supported Taras. Everyone wanted to win; we went to Madrid for a positive result.

Taras Stepanenko, Shakhtar midfielder:

- As for the second yellow card that I was awarded, it was fair; I failed to play the ball. And the first yellow card, according to the ref, was awarded as a result of a number of fouls. Ostensibly I blocked Bale in one of the episodes... Then there was a moment when I was intercepting a long ball in the air, with Benzema hitting me in the back as well as elbowing me! But it was considered as my foul. In the third case, I pulled Ronaldo's shirt when he was advancing. I got the first yellow card for the above fouls. Prior to sending off, we looked good, but in some cases we didn’t go forward, and it was necessary to operate confidently in the attack. Real Madrid let us play; we conceded the first goal only because of our own mistakes... I understand that I let the team down. We committed errors ourselves, including me, hence that result.