We are through to the semis!

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

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FCSD

On August 11, Shakhtar played Basel in the Europa League quarterfinal

According to UEFA’s decision, the finals are single-leg ties, with all meetings to be held in Germany. Let us remind you that the Miners have previously made it past Benfica (2-1 and 3-3) and Wolfsburg (2-1 and 3-0) in the UEL knockout stages. The Swiss, in turn, defeated APOEL (3-0, 1-0) and Eintracht (3-0, 1-0) in the previous rounds. The Miners’ manager Luis Castro made only one change to the starting line-up compared to the previous game: he fielded Valerii Bondar at the centre-back who has made his European club cup debut in this game.

The magic of two

The confidence and composure exuded by the young Shakhtar defender at the pre-match press conference has been displayed by the whole team on the pitch. An early goal also helped that: as early as in the 2nd minute, Marlos delivered a corner to the edge of the goal area, with Junior Moraes playing ahead and hammering the ball into the back of the net with his head to make it 1-0! The Swiss tried to respond immediately but for Cabral lacking some accuracy, while Bondar blocked the opponent's attempt. Pululu had a great chance after bursting into the penalty area down the left-hand side only to see his tight-angle attempt whizz off the far post. The Miners responded with their attempt (Moraes missed the target after Matviienko's cross), as well as with the second goal. In the 22nd minute, a blistering counter-attack ended in Marlos’ delivery to the edge of the box, with the onrushing Taison volleying it home (off a defender) – 2-0. Luis Castro's outfit continued keeping the initiative and created many more chances (the keeper palmed off two dangerous attempts by Marlos and Moraes). Shortly before the break, they could have given the score an even more lopsided look but for the crosspiece deflecting Marcos Antonio’s cannon shot. Not only the score, but also the statistics imply the Miners’ significant first-half lead: 63% vs 37% on possession, 6-0 on the shots on target.

Crushing victory

The second half turned out to be not so rich in dangerous chances, but a little more competitive, ultimately seeing a goals galore. Basel footballers tried to level the play and establish ball control, while the Orange-and-Blacks did not mind playing on the counter. However, threatening  Pyatov's goal was still extremely rare (Cabral could have scored from a distance, but missed the unguarded net), while the Champions of Ukraine converted their chance. In the 75th minute, Taison started dribbling near the penalty area and was knocked down by a defender. Alan Patrick converted the spot-kick coolly sending the keeper the wrong way – 3-0. At that moment, Luis Castro completely changed the attacking group (with Solomon, Kovalenko, Maycon, Tete and Fernando coming on), and in the 88th minute the Miners sealed the deal and turned it into real thrashing: Dodo started the attack with passing it to Tete, confidently outplaying Nikolic after getting the ball back – 4-0. In stoppage time, Van Wolfswinkel shot from the right and pulled one back, with the goal hardly being a consolation for the Swiss and not spoiling the winners' mood at all.
 
4-1 - Shakhtar thrashed Basel and advanced to the UEFA Europa League semi-finals!

The Miners’ next opponents are Inter Milan. The match will take place in Dusseldorf on August 17. It kicks off at 22:00.

Shakhtar Donetsk 4-1 (2-0) Basel
 
Gelsenkirchen, Arena AufSchalke, behind closed doors

Goals: 1-0 Moraes (2’), 2-0 Taison (22’), 3-0 Alan Patrick (75’, pen), 4-0 Dodo (88’), 4-1 Van Wolfswinkel (90’+2)

Shakhtar: Pyatov (c), Matviienko, Bondar, Kryvtsov, Dodo, Stepanenko, Marcos Antonio (Maycon, 85’), Alan Patrick (Kovalenko, 78’), Taison (Tete, 85’), Marlos (Solomon, 72’), Moraes (Fernando, 85’)

Further details are available in the match centre.