FC Shakhtar Donetsk will face compatriots FC Dynamo Kyiv in their first ever European semi-final after withstanding the best that Olympique de Marseille could throw at them at the Stade Véldodrome before running out 2-1 victors, winning 4-1 on aggregate following last week's home triumph.
At least one Ukrainian outfit is assured a place in this year's showpiece game after the French challengers fell short in both their ties, with Ligue 1 leaders Marseille unable to produce the second-leg comeback they required. Shakhtar only once managed to raise their heads above the parapet in the first half, but that resulted in a goal for Fernandinho on the half-hour. Although Hatem Ben Arfa levelled before the break, the Ukrainian titleholders first held out and then sealed another win against their hosts with an added-time Luiz Adriano strike.
Trailing at the halfway stage in the tie, Erik Gerets's men had little choice but to harry their opponents from the off, and they began almost immediately with Mamadou Niang nearly getting his head to a Mathieu Valbuena free-kick. Shakhtar's talented Brazilian forward quartet came with a burgeoning reputation, but all the invention was coming from the hosts in the early stages and fit-again midfielder Benoît Cheyrou stirred the vociferous crowd with a powerful strike just over the bar from 20 metres out.
Taye Taiwo and Bakari Koné echoed that attempt with off-target efforts of their own and Niang again went close to heading in, but just as it seemed Shakhtar would never leave their half they opened the scoring with pragmatic precision. Fernandinho surged down the left after being released by Ilsinho and the South American No7 steered a shot past Steve Mandanda from the tightest of angles, with Charles Kaboré helping the ball on its way as he slid in to challenge.
That silenced the home support but there was an eruption of noise two minutes before the break when Ben Arfa lashed the ball high into the net after his initial header from Kaboré's cross had been parried by Andriy Pyatov. Injury removed Taiwo from Marseille's equation at the start of the second half, just as Igor Duljaj had been forced off for Shakhtar in the opening period, but Gerets responded by reorganising his players in a 3-5-2 formation that almost instantly prompted a goal for Koné, the newly centralised forward nodding another excellent Kaboré centre wide.
Cheyrou was next to fire past a post from a Kaboré centre as the Burkina Faso midfielder continued to impose himself on the right, and he himself screwed an effort wide after Cheyrou had volleyed over. What Les Minots needed were goals, though, and the longer they failed to produce one, the more their belief diminished. A failed attempt to sweep the ball in by substitute Mamadou Samassa contrasted fiercely with Shakhtar's clinical finishing over both legs, a point emphasised by Luiz Adriano's late effort as he raced clear before shooting through Mandanda's legs.
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