Shakhtar said goodbye to the Champions League

Shakhtar said goodbye to the Champions League

Shakhtar Donetsk didn’t hold the minimal advantage after the victory at OSC Metalist in the first match (2:1) and lost to the Roman Roma away 1:0. On the 93rd minute in Kharkiv when Bruno Perez kicked the ball over the goal after the strike by Ferreira, experts were afraid that this episode will be decisive in the confrontation. In the end, that was the case.

The Ukrainian side had a chance to repeat their personal record in the Champions League and advance to quarter-finals since 2011. It is ironic, that this time they were kicked out by the team, which they defeated seven years ago. Bookmakers gave preference to no one after the first match: 1.85-1.95.

Initially, Shakhtar chose the right tactics. Fonseca’s men didn’t play defensively, playing in the midfield for most of the time. Most raids on Alisson’s goal were conducted through the left flank, where Bernard and Ismaily cooperated. Fred and Stepanenko interrupted Nainggolan’s efforts to develop the She-Wolf’s attack through midfield. Whereas the defense stopped crosses from Roma players on Edin Dzeko, as well as competently catching the Bosnian on artificial off-sides.

The main events happened in the second half. At first, Bohdan Butko didn’t hold the offside line and couldn’t put Edin Dzeko in a trap, and after that Manchester City’s former forward sent the ball to the net. And half an hour later, Roma caught Shakhtar on a counter-attack and Ivan Ordets committed foul of last hope, for which he received a red card. After this moment, Donetsk team’s efforts to score reminded confusion in Alisson penalty area, and the match referee Mallenco registered the final result.

At the after-match press conference, the Orange-and-Blacks’ manager Paulo Fonseca praised players for a fantastic match and also added:

“We made only one mistake, conceded one goal. But the game was pretty much under our control. Even without a player, we ended the match with 61% ball possession. I am proud of my team. Only great teams can do what we did. Of course I am frustrated with the result, but at the same time we have demonstrated high level”.

Prior to the game, Shakhtar’s director general Serhiy Palkin claimed, that Fred will leave the team next summer and Bernard will head for a surgery to his native Brazil. It is possible, that the match against Roma became the las one for the Latin American winger in Shakhtar’s jersey. Regarding the team’s head coach Paulo Fonseca’s contract, Palkin said:

“If we talk about a new contract for Fonseca, we need patience. I hope, you will get an answer very soon. Is there any hope, that he will extend his contract? There’s always hope”.

It is probable, that this summer Shakhta will remain be left without the main players in the team. Manchester City are hunting Fred since Autumn, Inter Milan are looking closely at Bernard, and Fonseca will probably go saving London Arsenal from descending to the middle of the tournament table in the EPL. One may only guess, how many time will Shakhtar require to gain strength once again and aim for the Champions League quarter-finals during current difficult times. But what is important, that this will happen sooner or later with the philosophy inherent for the club.