FC Shakhtar Donetsk came through a difficult night in Copenhagen with three crucial points which, combined with Juventus's victory against Chelsea FC, puts the Ukrainian team into the knockout phase for the second time in three seasons.
The visitors twice came from behind before finally easing themselves well clear of FC Nordsjælland with three second-half goals. The Danish side, who will finish at the foot of Group E, led through Morten Nordstrand and again when Kasper Lorentzen scored but Shakhtar carried more firepower, Luiz Adriano helping himself to a hat-trick while Willian weighed in with a double.
Shakhtar were noticeably inclined to pursue the direct route to goal in the early stages, as a succession of long passes from the back examined whether Nordsjælland still bore the defensive scars from their heavy reverse in Turin on matchday four. However, the hosts were up for the contest and the tactic handed the initiative to Kasper Hjulmand's men who needed no second invitation.
Nordstrand was put through as Lorentzen sliced apart the Shakhtar defence, but the forward was unable to gather the ball tidily. Shakhtar were then found wanting at the other end as Henrikh Mkhitaryan screwed an attempt wide with the goal gaping.
Nordsjælland took full advantage of that moment of good fortune and when Joshua John won himself some time to measure a delivery, he found Nordstrand making a clever run at the back of post to volley in. Against expectation the Superliga team were ahead but within two minutes the sides were back on level terms.
After an uncontested drop ball in the Shakhtar half, Willian kicked downfield to return it but Luiz Adriano collected, rounded Jesper Hansen and rolled the ball into the unguarded net.
The setback did not knock Nordsjælland out of their stride, however, and they were soon back in front, Patrick Mtiliga's persistence finding its reward as Lorentzen rammed the ball in from close range. The home crowd were delighted by the response but any ideas they had of a half-time advantage were ruined by Willian who restored parity with a deflected shot after Fernandinho had done the donkey work down the right.
It was Willian who put the Ukrainian champions ahead on the night, crashing in a beautiful curling shot from the edge of the area, and it became 4-2 not long after when Luiz Adriano was in the right place to steer home a ball driven in by Alex Teixeira. The Brazilian's treble came late on after a left-wing cross was knocked back into his path by Douglas Costa, to seal Shakhtar's biggest ever away win in the competition.
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