DONETSK — Henrik Mkhitaryan's expert finish in each half Wednesday gave Shakhtar Donetsk a 2-0 victory over Nordsjealland in the group stage of the Champions League.
In the 44th minute, the
Armenian forward lashed a low, hard shot into the bottom corner of the
net after receiving an overhead pass from Luiz Adriano.
pounced on a rebound from his own shot in the 76th minute to make no
mistake and side-foot the ball into the goal from just inside the area.
This was the first competitive meeting between the two sides, and Shakhtar’s first home Champion’s League victory in five games.
sides appeared evenly matched early on but Shakhtar began to control
the game and force Nordsjaeland to retreat further and further back,
allowing Mkhitaryan to constantly threaten.
Shakhtar had less possession and worse passing statistics but had more shots on target.
(Nordsjaelland) were good on counterattacks in the first half,”
Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu said. “But they got tired after the break.
I’m pleased with our defense — the visitors failed to create a single
Defender Ivan Runje was Nordsjealland’s most
dominant player. He had the Danish side’s first shot on target in the
first half but couldn’t get enough power on a header before goalkeeper
Andriy claimed the ball.
“The first hour was OK. But then we had
transitions against us,” Nordsjaelland coach Kasper Hjulmand said. “The
deciding moments were in the first half. We had good opportunities but
the goal before halftime was the deciding moment. We didn’t create
enough chances but I’m proud of my team — they played well. But Shakhtar
Shakhtar is unbeaten in 10 consecutive competitive matches this season in the domestic league and in Europe.
was my first professional double,” Mkhitaryan said. “We needed this
victory for confidence in the tournament. It was a difficult match, we
did everything possible to ease this match and create as many chances as
Shakhtar midfielder Darijo Srna said the team has learned from last season’s last-place finish in the group stage.
we don’t repeat last year’s mistakes then we should advance,” he said.
“Furthermore, we have identical chances to advance with Juventus and
Shakhtar leads Group E with Chelsea and Juventus drawing 2-2 at Stamford Bridge in the other match.