Shakhtar 3-1 Anderlecht

On March 10, in the first leg of the UEFA Europa League last 16, the Pitmen entertained Anderlecht.

UEFA Europa League 2015-16. Last-16. First match. Att: 23,621

March 10, 2016. Lviv. Arena Lviv. 9C.

Shakhtar (Donetsk, Ukraine) 3-1 (2-0) Anderlecht (Belgium, Brussels) 

Goals: 1:0 Taison (21), 2:0 Kucher (24), 2:1 Ashampong (68), 3:1 Eduardo (79)

Shakhtar: Pyatov, Srna (c), Kucher, Rakytskyy, Ismaily, Malyshev, Kovalenko, Marlos (Wellington, 74), Eduardo (Dentinho, 88), Taison (Bernard, 46), Ferreyra

Substitutes: Sarnavskyy, Ordets, Kryvtsov, Gladkyy

Head coach: Mircea Lucescu

Anderlecht: Proto (c), Nakhar, Mbodzhi, Neytink, Deschacht, Badji (Thielemans, 74), Defour, Prat (Conte, 67), Suarez (Djuricic, 67), Ashampong, Okaka

Substitutes: Ruf, Heilen, Buttner, Ezekiel

Head coach: Besnik Hasi

Booked: Badji (54), Mbodzhi (87)

Referee: Arthur Dias (Portugal)

Before match

The Pitmen’s starting line-up featured Oleksandr Kucher and Yaroslav Rakytskyy in the centre of defence. Viktor Kovalenko played as a holding midfielder instead of Taras Stepanenko, who missed the game due to suspension, with Eduardo playing off Facundo Ferreyra.

First half

The Pitmen took control of the game, forcing the visitors to defend. On 4 minutes, Marlos took a curling shot from outside the penalty area – straight into goalkeeper’s arms. Then the Pitmen created two chances in a row, with the opponents responding with a very sharp break, but both shots were blocked by the Pitmen’s defence. On 21 minutes, the scoring was opened: Marlos made an interception, before passing the ball into the path of Kovalenko, who fired straight into the goalkeeper, but picked up the ball following a rebound before making a pass back to Taison. The Brazilian’s shot into the far corner of the net was unstoppable, and that goal became Shakhtar’s 300th goal in European competitions (and also the team’s 100th goal in Europa League). The Pitmen seized on the opponents’ new error. Taison took the ball before feeding Ferreyra, who lobbed the goalkeeper but Anderlecht’s defender managed to head the ball off the goal line. The resulting corner led to second goal: Ferreyra picked up the ball inside the penalty area before making a pass out right to Darijo Srna before delivering a cross into the penalty area for Kucher to head the ball in to make it 2-0! This was, actually, the defender’s debut goal in European competitions.  In the responding attack Ashampong took a dangerous shot but the ball flew wide. Shakhtar kept attacking. Ferreyra fired from close range, but the opposition keeper made a save. In the closing stages of the first half, Eduardo bore down on goal, beat the goalkeeper, but hit the goal post from a tight angle.

Second half

After the break, Bernard replaced injured Taison. The Belgian team became more energetic, and Andriy Pyatov parried away a Defour shot for a corner from the edge of the penalty area. The Pitmen didn’t rush things, trying hit the opponents on the break. One of them led to a dangerous cross from Bernard from the left, and Marlos tried to take a shot goal wards but the ball went over the crossbar. On 68 minutes, the visitors managed to narrow the gap: after a cross from the right flank, Ashampong headed the ball in at the far post to make it 2-1. Bernard has a great chance, but his shot flew just over the crossbar. On 79 minutes, Shakhtar launched a sharp attacking move, during which Bernard won a corner and took it himself into the centre of penalty area to Eduardo, who headed the ball into the roof of the net to make it 3-1. Soon Bernard won another dangerous free kick in the middle of the pitch, and a Srna shot over the wall was kept out by the goalkeeper. The visitors had a few dangerous attacks before the end of the first half, but the Pitmen managed to hold on to their 2-goal lead before the return leg in Brussels on 17 March.