FC Metalist Kharkiv turned in a display of wonderfully astute attacking intent to overwhelm FC Salzburg and move to the brink of a place in the UEFA Europa League round of 16.
Jonathan Cristaldo twice applied the finishing touch in a rampant first-half performance from Metalist, but it was Taison, the man who put them ahead in the first minute, who left Ricardo Moniz's charges chasing shadows. A paradigm of vision and energy, the Brazilian forward epitomised Metalist's forward-thinking, inventive and clinical display, with Marko Dević icing the cake in added time.
The hosts may have expected some rustiness after two months' rest, but the laxness of David Mendes da Silva and Douglas da Silva in presenting Taison with possession after just 20 seconds could not have been accounted for. Though Metalist are in a mid-winter break themselves, their livewire striker needed no second invitation and duly rounded goalkeeper Alexander Walke and finished with minimum fuss.
It was little surprise when the visitors doubled their advantage on 37 minutes, Taison's cute ball releasing Fininho, whose intelligent cut-back gave Cristaldo a simple finish. Still reeling, Salzburg were torn to shreds once more four minutes later. Their tormenters-in-chief were in direct cahoots on this occasion, Cristaldo exchanging passes with Taison before shooting under Walke.
Salzburg finally had a sniff of Oleksandr Goryainov's goal after the interval, but only half-chances fell the way of Jakob Jantscher and Simon Cziommer and Metalist's keeper remained redundant. Walke had no such luxury and was required to show fine reactions to keep out Papa Gueye's header on 62 minutes.
In pursuit of a glimmer of hope late on, Salzburg had their misery compounded when Metalist broke in typically polished fashion and added a fourth thanks to Dević's composed finish.
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