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Brandão rides to Shakhtar's rescue

FC Shakhtar Donetsk 3-1 FC Salzburg (agg: 3-2) Substitute Brandão was the hero as the home team came within three minutes of elimination in Ukraine.

Substitute Brandão was FC Shakhtar Donetsk's hero as his side came within three minutes of UEFA Champions League elimination before the Brazilian midfielder struck to complete an excellent comeback against FC Salzburg.

Lucarelli busy
The Ukrainian outfit looked to be heading for an ignominious exit when Remo Meyer headed in on five minutes to give the visitors a 2-0 aggregate lead. With away goals counting double, it left Shakhtar needing to score three times and although Cristiano Lucarelli soon reduced the arrears, they found Salzburg difficult to break down. Lucarelli earned a penalty eleven minutes from time, however, Nery Castillo dispatching the spot-kick to set up a thrilling finale in which Brandão powered in after superb build-up play to steal a hard-earned place in the group stage.

Meyer opener
That had appeared a world away when the home side conceded early on – as they had done in the first leg – with Meyer finishing after Ibrahim Sekagya had directed a corner into his path. Yet Mircea Lucescu's men did not lose their composure and instead upped the tempo. It nearly bore immediate dividends but although Lucarelli squandered one chance, the Italian striker did not have to wait long to get on the scoresheet as he applied an emphatic finish to Oleksandr Gladkiy's pass.

Inspired substitutions
Gladkiy had chances to score himself but failed to find the net and as Shakhtar frustrations grew, chances fell to Salzburg. Alexander Zickler came closest after half-time with an effort that rose over the bar and that proved the cue for more pressure from the home team as Gladkiy and Fernandinho both threatened. With time running out Lucescu introduced Brandão and Castillo and it proved an inspired decision. When Lucarelli was brought down by Sekagya it was Mexican international Castillo that stepped up before Brandão secured a thrilling win, applying an emphatic finish to a fine move involving Igor Duljaj and Razvan Rat.