FC Shakhtar Donetsk overcame FC Sheriff 2-0 in Ukraine tonight to advance to a UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie against Russian champions FC Lokomotiv Moskva on the same aggregate score.
After a 0-0 draw in Tiraspol last Wednesday, the Ukrainians were determined to make full use of home advantage in front of 38,000 spectators. After three minutes Zvonimir Vukic was brought down 25 metres from goal and his ensuing free-kick was on target but saved in style by Sheriff's Romanian goalkeeper Sebastian Hutan.
Sheriff then lost Hutan's compatriot, striker Cristian Tudor, through injury, and the custodian was called into action again on 14 minutes to block an Olexiy Bielyk shot. Sheriff were able to hold on until half-time, but as the hour approached the home side broke the deadlock.
Vukic was the goalscorer, drilling a free-kick past Hutan after being felled 25 metres from goal. At this stage a goal for Sheriff would have seen them progress on away goals, but Shakhtar held firm to deny their Moldovan visitors any decisive openings.
Ten men out
Sheriff's chances of drawing level diminished in the 88th minute when their captain, Vaja Tarkhnishvili, was dismissed for a second bookable offence. Within 60 seconds the hosts had sealed their passage as Brazilian striker Brandão converted a cross from Andriy Vorobei to confirm the date with Lokomotiv.
'A classic result'
Shakhtar coach Bernd Schuster said: "
We were a bit nervous after failing to score for nearly 60 minutes. However, our advantage in class and pace finally told in the end. We achieved a classic result, allowing no goals against. Now we can think about Lokomotiv, who certainly are a team on a different level. We are sure we will receive support from our home fans. Our inspiration is our public."