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Shakhtar have a point to prove against Braga

FC Shakhtar Donetsk are on the verge of the knockout stages for the first time and need just a point against a SC Braga side who know only a victory will keep alive their own chances.

Shakhtar have a point to prove against Braga
Shakhtar have a point to prove against Braga ©UEFA.com

Wins in their last two fixtures have put FC Shakhtar Donetsk on the brink of the UEFA Champions League knockout stages for the first time and a point against SC Braga will be enough to confirm their place – although the Portuguese side have qualification aspirations of their own.

• Shakhtar are three points ahead of their Matchday 6 opponents, who are level on points with Arsenal FC but behind the London club on head-to-head record. While a draw would ensure Shakhtar win the group, Braga must better the result Arsenal manage at home to FK Partizan, who are already guaranteed to finish bottom; should the English club win, the Portuguese team will need to beat Shakhtar by four goals or more to extend their first UEFA Champions League campaign into the spring.

Previous meetings
• The Ukraine team came out on top in the corresponding fixture on 28 September. Two second-half strikes by Luiz Adriano and a late Douglas Costa spot-kick gave Mircea Lucescu's side maximum points from two games.

• It was the first time Braga had crossed paths with a team from Ukraine while Shakhtar – who are in their sixth UEFA Champions League campaign and hoping to advance from the group stage for the first time – have played four European games at home to Portuguese visitors and are still to win.

• The Ukrainian champions have done better in away games, winning at SL Benfica and Boavista FC in advance of this season's 3-0 victory in Braga. At home they lost to Sporting Clube de Portugal in 2008/09 and Benfica the previous season, both in the UEFA Champions League group stage and both 1-0, while the visits of Boavista and FC Porto ended in 1-1 draws.

Match background
• Having started with a 1-0 defeat of Partizan, Shakhtar equalled their best start to a UEFA Champions League campaign with the victory at Braga. After clean sheets in their opening two games it was something of a surprise when Mircea Lucescu's team then conceded five goals away to Arsenal, responding only with Eduardo's late effort on his return to his former club.

• The Croatian international was the decisive figure on Matchday 4, however, securing a 2-1 win against the Gunners after Shakhtar had come from a goal down. The Ukrainian side were 3-0 winners in Belgrade on Matchday 5.

• Braga have come a long way since their first two fixtures when the 6-0 defeat at Arsenal on their group stage debut was followed by the home defeat by Shakhtar.

• The Portuguese club showed more of their best form on the next two matchdays, defeating Partizan 2-0 at home and 1-0 away, before a 2-0 triumph against Arsenal in their final home fixture enabled them to join the London side on nine points.

Team ties
• Alex Teixeira and Elton were team-mates in 2009/10 with CR Vasco da Gama.

• Luiz Adriano played alongside Mossoró for SC Internacional during 2006/07.

• Marcelo Moreno was part of the EC Vitória squad in 2005/06 along with Felipe and then, following his transfer to Cruzeiro EC in 2007, he linked up with Léo Fortunato for two seasons.

• Hugo Viana was an unused substitute for Valencia CF in a 2-0 win against Shakhtar in the 2006/07 UEFA Champions League group stage. Two weeks later in Donetsk he came off the bench and helped his team to a 2-2 draw.

• Shakhtar coach Lucescu was in charge of Romania when they lost 1-0 to Portugal in a UEFA European Championship Group B fixture in Nantes on 20 June 1984. In January 1985, Romania turned the tables with a 3-2 friendly win in Lisbon.

• Former Portuguese international defender Fernando Couto, the director of football at Braga, played in two 1998 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Ukraine, scoring the only goal in Portugal's 1-0 win at Estádio das Antas on 9 November 1996. He also played 37 minutes of S.S. Lazio's 3-0 win at Shakhtar on 12 September 2000 in the UEFA Champions League first group stage having appeared as a second-half substitute, playing all of the 5-1 home win the following month.

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