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APOEL history-makers want more against Shakhtar

Published: Monday 28 November 2011, 8.45CET
APOEL FC look to conclude their fairy-tale Group G campaign by claiming first place against an FC Shakhtar Donetsk side whose only remaining motivation is to salvage some pride.
APOEL history-makers want more against Shakhtar
APOEL players celebrate qualification after the Zenit match ©Getty Images
Published: Monday 28 November 2011, 8.45CET

APOEL history-makers want more against Shakhtar

APOEL FC look to conclude their fairy-tale Group G campaign by claiming first place against an FC Shakhtar Donetsk side whose only remaining motivation is to salvage some pride.

APOEL FC will look to conclude their remarkable Group G campaign with a victory against FC Shakhtar Donetsk that would send them into the draw for the knockout rounds as one of the eight group winners.

• APOEL have already become the first team from Cyprus to reach the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League thanks to their 0-0 draw at FC Zenit St Petersburg on matchday five. With a one-point lead at the summit, they may need just a draw to cement top spot depending on the result between Porto and Zenit.

• The success of Ivan Jovanović's APOEL stands in stark contrast with the performance of Shakhtar, quarter-finalists last season but already consigned to bottom place in the section and a new year without European football for the first time since 2007/08. Held 1-1 by APOEL in Donetsk in September, the winless outfit will arrive in Cyprus under threat of an unwanted first having managed at least one victory in each of their previous six UEFA Champions League group stage campaigns.

Match background
• APOEL are unbeaten in nine European home games – six wins, three draws – since a 1-0 defeat by FC Porto in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League. They have already beaten Zenit and Porto this season, both 2-1.

• Shakhtar have lost both their Group G games on the road – at Porto, then Zenit – and their seven-match winless sequence, including home and away losses to Barcelona in last term's quarter-finals, is the worst in their European history.

• While Shakhtar had not faced Cypriot opponents prior to this season, APOEL faced a team from Ukraine when tackling FC Zorya Luhansk, then reigning Soviet champions, in the first round of the 1973/74 European Champion Clubs' Cup. They lost 2-0 in Lugansk then went down 1-0 in the return leg in Nicosia.

Team ties
• Matchday two aside, Shakhtar's Mircea Lucescu has never encountered Cypriot opposition as a club coach but did face the Cyprus national team early in his time as both a Romania player and coach.

• In only his third and fourth competitive appearances as a senior Romanian international, Lucescu was on target in home and away wins against Cyprus in qualifying for the 1968 UEFA European Championship. He scored in a 5-1 Romania victory in Cyprus in December 1966, and struck again in a 7-0 home success the following April.

• Lucescu also faced Cyprus in his first UEFA European Championship qualifier as Romania coach, steering his country to a 3-1 home win in May 1982. His Romania team subsequently prevailed 1-0 in Cyprus 18 months later en route to qualification for the 1984 finals in France.

• Olexiy Gai, Olexandr Kucher and Vyacheslav Shevchuk played for Ukraine in a 1-1 friendly draw with Cyprus in Nicosia in February 2008. Constantinos Charalambides, Marinos Satsias and Nektarios Alexandrou were in the home lineup.

• Yaroslav Rakitskiy scored for Ukraine in a 2-2 draw with Romania in the Cypriot town of Paralimni on 8 February this year. Andriy Pyatov, Dmytro Chygrynskiy and Taras Stepanenko also featured in that match, which Ukraine won on penalties and which formed part of the Cyprus Tournament 2011. Ukraine went on to beat Sweden in another shoot-out in the final after a 1-1 draw at APOEL's GSP Stadium, Kucher and Stepanenko both playing.

• William Boaventura played for FC Metalurh Donetsk between 2008 and 2010, making 31 league appearances in two separate spells divided by a loan stay at Russia's FC Kuban Krasnodar. He faced Shakhtar three times, playing in a 2-1 Ukrainian Cup victory in March 2010, but also appearing in a 1-1 draw and a 1-0 Metalurh defeat in the league. During his second stint in 2009/10, the Brazilian played alongside Henrik Mkhitaryan, now a Shakhtar player.

• Mkhitaryan suffered home and away losses with FC Pyunik to Cyprus's Anorthosis Famagusta FC in the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round in 2008/09. He had earlier helped Armenia's Under-17 team earn a 1-0 victory against their Cyprus counterparts in Paralimni in 2006.

Last updated: 04/12/11 19.16CET

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http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2012/matches/round=2000263/match=2007654/prematch/background/index.html#apoel+history+makers+want+more+against+shakhtar

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