FC Shakhtar Donetsk are through to the UEFA Champions League knockout phase for the first time in the club's history as two late strikes ended SC Braga's debut campaign.
The home side were frustrated for long periods but two goals in five minutes eventually brought the home side earn a deserved victory. Răzvan Raţ proved the unlikely hero for the Ukrainian titleholders, as his first goal in 83 UEFA club competition appearances – going back over a decade – broke the deadlock. He then set up Luiz Adriano to make the game safe as Shakhtar finished top of Group H; third-placed Braga move into the UEFA Europa League round of 32.
Shakhtar knew a point would be good enough to clinch top spot, and made a subdued start as Braga enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges. Alan had a speculative shot from distance, which failed to trouble Andriy Pyatov.
The hosts began to find their stride, though, and on 21 minutes the dangerous Douglas Costa, not for the first time, managed to get past his marker with ease. His inviting pull-back was turned over by Willian. Shakhtar were enjoying the lion's share of possession but their caution meant Artur in the Braga goal was a virtual spectator for the first 45 minutes.
Mircea Lucescu's side continued to attack following the resumption, and their best move so nearly brought the opening goal. The ball fell to Douglas Costa on the edge of the area, but the 20-year-old's left-footed curler went agonisingly wide of the far post. Frustration was beginning to get to the home players and their fans, but just as Shakhtar looked to be running out of ideas, the Donbass Arena finally had something to cheer about on 78 minutes.
Darijo Srna's deep cross found Raţ on the edge of the area, and the Romanian international drilled a fine left-footed shot past Artur to break his European duck. It was the club's 100th UEFA Champions League goal, and Raţ capped an excellent game five minutes later as he turned provider, bursting down the left and sending in a cross that gave Luis Adriano the simplest of tasks to seal the points. The Ukrainian side, in their 11th UEFA Champions League campaign, are finally beyond the group stage.
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.