Austrian title-holders FC Salzburg have taken a step towards the UEFA Champions League group stage by beating FC Shakhtar Donetsk 1-0 in the third qualifying round tie at the Stadion Wals-Siezenheim.
The first-leg match, played in front of 30,000 spectators, was decided in favour of Giovanni Trapattoni's side when Alexander Zickler tucked away a tenth-minute penalty. The Wals-Siezenheim, a venue for UEFA EURO 2008™ next summer, could yet be staging UEFA Champions League football after Zickler scored from the spot following a handball in his own area by Shakhtar defender Dmytro Chygrynskiy.
Give and take
Despite fielding three defensive midfielders in René Aufhauser, Niko Kovač and Ezequiel Carboni, Salzburg continued to trouble last season's Ukrainian Premier League runners-up during the first half. Milan Dudić forced visiting keeper Andriy Pyatov into a save, before Salzburg's Timo Ochs was made to work by Ilsinho. The ebb and flow persisted with Johan Vonlanthen striking a post via the hands of Pyatov and Jadson Rodriguez threatening the home goal with a free-kick.
For Salzburg, the opening 20 minutes of the second half were the calm before the storm. A near miss from Fernandinho was the cue for Shakhtar to launch wave upon wave of attacks on the Salzburg penalty area. Brandão might have rewarded their attacking efforts on 75 minutes, before he made way for Cristiano Lucarelli in coach Mircea Lucescu's front line. At the other end, the visitors were reprieved when Aufhauser wasted a headed opportunity to double the Salzburg advantage. As it was, they gained a slender lead to take to Ukraine on 29 August.