First step taken!

Friday, March 13, 2020



Shakhtar played Wolfsburg away in the Europa League Round of 16 first leg

Due to the coronavirus situation, the game was held in front of the empty stands. The Miners arrived in Germany without their leader Taras Stepanenko who had been operated on the previous day. Marcos Antonio took his place in the lineup. We also want to mention the return of Viktor Kovalenko after recovering from an injury.

Early success and wasted chances

The hosts got off to a powerful start, with Weghorst initially missing the ball from the edge of the goal area, and with Andriy Pyatov later rescuing his side from Arnold’s long-range attempt. Shakhtar withstood the onslaught and prepared a more than worthy response. In the 17th minute, Ismaily raced down the left flank and crossed it into the penalty area, with a Wolfsburg defender failing to clear the ball, and with the onrushing Junior Moraes heading it into the back of the net - 1-0. Five minutes later, the Orange-Blacks got a chance to extend the lead: Dodo’s attempt hit Arnold’s hand, with the referee pointing to the spot. Viktor Kovalenko fired a low ball to the left of the goalkeeper, but Casteels guessed the direction right and made a confident save. Midway through the first half, the teams exchanged scoring opportunities: Mehmedi excused the visitors by sending the ball a few metres wide, with Brooks coming to the home side’s rescue by clearing the ball for a corner. A few seconds away from the break, it was Wolfsburg who had earned a penalty kick (the deflected ball hit Matviienko’s hand), but Weghorst slipped while hitting the ball and sent it way too high.

Marcos’ crucial goal

The hosts managed to level the score early in the second half: Brooks headed a corner into the back of the net, making it 1-1. Now the initiative passed to the Wolfsburg players who started bombarding the Miners’ box with crosses and high balls. Luis Castro took advantage of the substitutions to field Maycon and David Khocholava, with the Orange-Blacks managing to push the game away from their goal and to go in front. In the 73rd minute, Alan Patrick earned a promising free-kick and perfectly rounded the wall himself, the Wolfsburg goalkeeper parried the ball away, but the agile Marcos Antonio was the first on the ball to head it into the back of the unguarded net, making it 1-2. Shakhtar felt confident and began to spend more time in the opposing half, from time to time threatening Casteels' goal: Taison tried to bend it into the far corner just to see his effort go wide. The hosts responded with a final series of dangerous attacks. Initially, Marcos stopped Otavio’s cross, then Brekalo missed the corner, then Pyatov parried away his very dangerous cross, with Ginczek wasting two great chances in the end.

2-1 - Shakhtar defeated Wolfsburg in the first leg of the Europa League Round of 16. The return game on the Miners’ field has been scheduled for March 19th.

And this coming Sunday of March 15, the team of Luis Castro will have an away UPL game vs Zorya in Zaporizhia at 14:00.

Wolfsburg 1-2 (0-1) Shakhtar Donetsk

Wolfsburg, VfL Wolfsburg Arena, no spectators

Goals: 0-1 Moraes (17’), 1-1 Brooks (48’), 1-2 Marcos Antonio (73’)

Unconverted penalties: Kovalenko (22’, goalkeeper), Weghorst (45+2’, wide)

Shakhtar: Pyatov (c), Ismaily (Khocholava, 68’), Matviienko, Kryvtsov, Dodo, Marcos Antonio, Alan Patrick, Taison (Konoplyanka, 88’), Kovalenko (Maycon, 66’), Tete, Moraes

Further details are available in the match centre.