Shakhtar vs Celta: match report

Friday, February 24, 2017



In the Europa League Round of 32 reverse match, the Pitmen played Celta, Spain

2016/17 UEFA Europa League. Round of 32. Second leg.

February 23, 2017. Kharkiv. OSC Metalist. Att: 33,117. +2oC.

Shakhtar (Donetsk, Ukraine) 0-2 (0-0, 0-1, 0-1) Celta (Vigo, Spain)

Goals: 0-1 Aspas (90+1, pen), 0-2 Cabral (108)

Shakhtar: Pyatov, Srna (c), Ordets, Rakits’kyy, Ismaily, Malyshev (Boriachuk, 112), Fred, Marlos, Kovalenko (Stepanenko, 73), Taison (Bernard, 83), Blanco Leschuk

Unused subs: Shevchenko, Butko, Kucher, Zubkov

Head coach: Paulo Fonseca

Celta: Álvarez, Mallo (c), Cabral, Roncaglia (Jozabed, 58), Jonny, Fontàs, Hernández, Wass (Bongonda, 80), Aspas, Guidetti, Sisto (Rossi, 85)

Unused subs: Blanco, Sergi Gómez, Planas, Díaz

Head coach:  Eduardo Berizzo

Booked: Aspas (13), Roncaglia (26), Blanco Leschuk (36), Jonny (63), Rakits’kyy (90), Fred (90+3), Guidetti (113), Bongonda (116), Srna (119)

Referee: Slavko Vinčić (SVN)

Before the match

For the first time in their history, Shakhtar held a European competition match in Kharkiv. The Donetsk side’s starting line-up saw one change compared to the one for the match in Vigo: Viktor Kovalenko took over the injured Dentinho’s position of supporting attacker. After missing the game in Spain due to a one-match ban, Taras Stepanenko was included in the list of players for the tie.
The 28th minute could have been crucial, as Fred played in Kovalenko, but Cabral spotted his keeper
First half

The encounter started at a good pace. Both sides did not stay long in midfield and created moments of danger yet in the early stages. First, a three step by Marlos - Ismaily - Taison rounded off with a finish from outside the penalty area flying just wide. The Spanish side responded with Aspas appearing in a similar position and sending his shot off the target, as well. The Orange-and-Blacks had their closest scoring opportunity in the 10th minute. Taison flicked a low cross on Marlos before the keeper snagged his pass and cleared the danger a moment later following the rebound from Viktor Kovalenko. Since then on, both opponents continued to demonstrate an open football exchanging attacks. The 28th minute could have been crucial, as Fred played in Kovalenko, but Cabral spotted his keeper. In the next attacking move, Andriy Pyatov had to demonstrate his excellent performance: he palmed away the effort after Aspas fired a low shot into a corner. In the dying minutes of the first half, opponents exchanged incisive attacking moves again. With Celta being pressed inside their area for a few minutes, Taison could break the deadlock. The Brazilian sent his spectacular flying kick into the roof of the net, but Alvarez was there to deny. After that, Andriy Pyatov was forced into a stunning save after a pinpoint drive from the same Aspas. Eventually, the opponents left the pitch goalless.
Starting from the 55th minute, Shakhtar seized the initiative and immediately forged a number of clear-cut chances within a short period. It all started with Fred’s belter from close range, as Celta 'keeper contrived to parry the effort away from danger
Second half

After the break, the game pattern changed a bit. It seemed for a while that opposing sides became more cautious and did not intend to maintain a high pace of the first half. But, starting from the 55th minute, Shakhtar seized the initiative and immediately forged a number of clear-cut chances within a short period. It all started with Fred’s belter from close range, as Celta 'keeper contrived to parry the effort away from danger. Soon after that, a real opportunity came Gustavo Blanco Leschuk’s way: the Argentinian unleashed his header from the goal-line after a great assist from Darijo Srna, but Alvarez was on the ball again. With 59 minutes into the game, he appeared powerless, though. Viktor Kovalenko pushed the ball into the net past the goalkeeper only to see the referee ruling out his finish for offside. A moment later, Blanco Leschuk nodded his effort again to force another save from the Galicians’ goalie. The visitors responded with a dangerous kick from Aspas, with Andriy Pyatov denying the threat. 16 minutes from time, Paulo Fonseca made the first substitution by bringing in Taras Stepanenko in place of Viktor Kovalenko. Celta footballers surged forward in numbers, which allowed the Pitmen operate on the fast counterattacks. With 7 minutes remaining, Bernard took to the field for Taison in the left wing. The dying minutes of the second half saw the visitors on the front foot, but the Orange-and-Blacks kept the rivals at bay safely. The 91th minute turned out to be crucial, as referee registered the foul from Andriy Pyatov on Guidetti and awarded a penalty. Aspas converted a spot-kick to push the game into the extra time.

The players of both sides did not have much strength left for the extra time. Nevertheless, within closing minutes of the first extra time, Celta experienced constant pressure near own goal. Ivan Ordets rifled a piledriver from the tight angle, before Gustavo Blanco Leschuk had a sight of a goal, with Bernard appearing in a good position moments later. In the opening part of the second 15-minute period, the Galicians succeeded in launching a fine attacking move. Jozabed delivered a resulting corner, with Cabral rising first at the near post to divert the ball into the net. After the goal, Maksym Malyshev made way for the striker Andriy Boriachuk. The score has not changed. The Pitmen have finished their European campaign at the Europa League Round of 32 stage.

Shakhtar will hold their next fixture on 26 February. In the Premier League round 19, the Donetsk side will entertain Poltava-based Vorskla at OSC Metalist in Kharkiv. It kicks off at 17:00.