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Substitute Massimo Donati scored with virtually the last kick of the game to finally separate Group D rivals Celtic FC and FC Shakhtar Donetsk on Matchday 5 in Glasgow.
The UEFA Champions League contest looked destined to be drawn until Aiden McGeady crossed and Donati struck via a slight deflection off Tomáš Hübschman to steal the three points. That is now the margin between these teams ahead of Celtic's trip to already qualified AC Milan and Shakhtar's home match against SL Benfica on 4 December. Brandão and Jiří Jarošík had scored the earlier goals.
Celtic manager Gordon Strachan had warned against repeating the mistakes of Matchday 1, when his side conceded twice inside eight minutes in Donetsk, yet his words went unheeded. Another defensive lapse here gave the Ukrainian club the lead after four minutes. Centre-back John Kennedy, misjudging the flight of a long ball from the back from Hübschman, headed it weakly into the path of Brandão and, as in September, the Brazilian striker punished Celtic. He advanced unattended and let fly a left-foot shot that found the bottom corner despite goalkeeper Artur Boruc getting a hand to it.
The Celtic game plan was further disrupted when, with 15 minutes played, Lee Naylor limped off with a hamstring injury, forcing Paul Hartley to drop to left-back as Donati entered the midfield fray. So the hosts had to wait until the 22nd minute for their first opening. McGeady wriggled clear of two players before releasing Scott McDonald who could only lift his shot over. The latter's strike partner, Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, went closer when he headed Gary Caldwell's right-wing cross just wide with keeper Andriy Pyatov beaten.
For Mircea Lucescu's Shakhtar, Darijo Srna fizzed an attempt wide of Boruc's left-hand post, before Brandão twice came close to doubling the advantage. Kennedy had to block his first effort at the near post, and from the ensuing corner Boruc denied the No25's header with a superb reflex save. Celtic's night did get worse, however, when Kennedy was carried off with a knee injury, to be replaced by Steven Pressley.
Yet the next break was a lucky one for the Scottish title-holders. After Srna and his skipper Dmytro Chygrynskiy both went for the same long pass into the Shakhtar area, the ball dropped for Jarošík to thump a shot across Pyatov and in. First-half stoppage time might even have seen a second home goal, but Jarošík contrived to nod a diving header wide from a matter of metres.
At the death
Strachan's men at least came out for the second half with a renewed sense of purpose. For the first time in the match they enjoyed a sustained period of possession, while Shakhtar seemed content to sit and wait for the counterattack. Jadson's 65th-minute break exemplified this tactic, as he strode forward from midfield before firing right-footed over Boruc's crossbar. When Jarošík headed another opportunity over from Hartley's corner in the final quarter, a draw appeared inevitable. However, Donati's late arrival into the Shakhtar box deep into added time and thumping first-time strike changed all that.
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