FC Basel 1893 1-2 FC Shakhtar Donetsk
A brace of free-kicks from Fernandinho and Jadson helped the Ukrainian champions to an impressive win at St. Jakob-Park in their Group C opener.
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A brace of free-kicks from Fernandinho and Jadson helped FC Shakhtar Donetsk to an impressive 2-1 win at FC Basel 1893 in their Group C opener.
Fernandinho's thunderbolt put the Ukrainian double winners ahead after 25 minutes at St. Jakob-Park before his fellow Brazilian Jadson doubled their advantage seconds before the interval to give Shakhtar a winning start to their fifth UEFA Champions League campaign. David Abraham's stoppage-time strike proved little consolation for the hosts.
Urged on by the vocal support massed behind captain Franco Costanzo's goal, Basel charged forward promisingly from kick-off. Striker Eren Derdiyok, playing his first game for a fortnight after a thigh injury, almost made the early pressure tell as he flashed an early header just wide.
Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu, though, had promised his side would be playing for victory and, after calming Basel's early ardour, the visitors looked distinctly the more menacing. Jadson's probing proved a constant concern for the Basel defence and the diminutive playmaker – one of five Brazilians in the starting XI - escaped down the right on 16 minutes before producing a cross which Luiz Adriano narrowly failed to turn goalwards.
Though it was slick passing which threatened to open up the home defence on more than one occasion, it was set-pieces that would ultimately prove their undoing. François Marque's clumsy challenge on Luiz Adriano some thirty metres from goal allowed deep-lying playmaker Fernandinho, who had already seen one long-range effort fly over the bar, to produce a sublime strike which was still rising as it sped past Costanzo.
Basel pressure was sporadic as Shakhtar dominated, and they were rewarded with a second goal in the dying seconds of the half. Reto Zanni's handball on the left flank led to Jadson viciously arcing in a free-kick which evaded the onrushing mass of players and came to rest in the right-hand corner of Costanzo's net.
Basel coach Christian Gross responded to his side's difficulties at half-time by withdrawing Derdiyok and Valentin Stocker, and their replacements made an immediate impact. The second half was just four minutes old when Orhan Mustafi forced Shakhtar keeper Andriy Pyatov into his first save of the match with an angled drive, before Carlitos's astute ball led to Eduardo shooting inches wide of Pyatov's right-hand post.
Given their two-goal cushion, Shakhtar were understandably less enterprising than in the opening half, though the Ukrainian champions very nearly created a third on 66 minutes. With Basel left-back Ronny Hodel caught out by the sheer speed of the Shakhtar break, Luiz Adriano galloped into the vacant space before feeding Brandão in the box. Costanzo saved the Brazilian's initial effort and then reacted superbly to tip Vyacheslav Shevchuk's fiercely-struck follow-up on to a post.