FC Shakhtar Donetsk are three points clear atop UEFA Champions League Group E after a 2-1 triumph against holders Chelsea FC.
Notwithstanding a record sequence of 21 successive victories in the Ukrainian Premier League, Shakhtar could scarcely have hoped for a more compelling performance considering the opponents. Alex Teixeira's third-minute opener set them on their way to a fourth win in five European home games against English opposition, and a total of 17 shots on target were testament to their dominance. Fernandinho's second-half strike was just reward for a wonderfully vibrant display, though Oscar's tap-in prompted a bout of late nerves.
Roberto Di Matteo's side may have scored four in each of their last three matches, but there were times when they looked destined to concede as many in Donetsk. They were one down in the blink of an eye, Alex taking a touch and finishing low past Petr Čech after Luiz Adriano's shot had deflected into his path.
The west Londoners, further unsettled by the departure of Frank Lampard to injury, never recovered. Willian was Shakhtar's heartbeat throughout, drifting in unnoticed from the left to test Čech a number of times in the opening period. Henrik Mkhitaryan, with 14 goals in 12 games this term, was equally troublesome and could have doubled his team's advantage seven minutes from the interval. Played in by Willian, the Armenian international, with his second bite at the cherry, unleashed a fierce strike that was athletically turned over by Čech.
Chelsea's No1 was forced into a more instinctive save from the resulting corner, showing superb reflexes to deny Tomáš Hübschman from barely three metres.
Greeted by a standing ovation at half-time, Shakhtar showed little sign of letting their standards slip after the break. Though Juan Mata snatched at a half-chance at the end of a fluid Chelsea counterattack, it was nothing more than an interlude. Two minutes later, Fernandinho hustled Eden Hazard out of possession, exchanged passes with Adriano and finished with authority. It was a searing, explosive break.
The Premier League leaders looked to have been goaded into action, but had only harmless attempts from Ramires and John Obi Mikel to show for their response. The hosts were still far superior in possession and on the hunt for a third. Fernandinho dragged wide, Mkhitaryan twice tested Čech and Tomáš Hübschman poked off target from close range. Oscar turned in Branislav Ivanović's cutback with two minutes left, but it was too little too late.
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