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Impressive Shakhtar sign off with APOEL victory

APOEL FC 0-2 FC Shakhtar Dontesk
The Cypriot hosts finished top of Group G despite succumbing to second-half goals from Luiz Adriano and substitute Yevhen Seleznyov.

Impressive Shakhtar sign off with APOEL victory
Impressive Shakhtar sign off with APOEL victory ©UEFA.com

Luiz Adriano and Yevhen Seleznyov scored second-half goals as FC Shakhtar Donetsk ended their European campaign with a first victory in UEFA Champions League Group G.

Destined to finish bottom of the section, the Pitmen made the breakthrough their enterprising play had merited when Luiz Adriano, who had an earlier penalty saved, struck on 62 minutes. Seleznyov's late opportunist effort confirmed a first defeat in ten European home games for APOEL FC, though with FC Porto and FC Zenit St Petersburg drawing 0-0 they won the group regardless.

A crowd of 22,537 – a Cypriot record in UEFA club competition – watched as Shakhtar quickly took the initiative and were presented with the chance to make their purposeful start count when Fernandinho was bundled over in the area by Nektarios Alexandrou.

Much to the delight of the boisterous home support, though, Luiz Adriano's spot kick was kept out by Urko Pardo; a save that set the trend for the remainder of the half. Shakhtar had claimed back-to-back 5-0 league wins since their last European outing and were playing with confidence, their advances led by neat interplay between Douglas Costa, Willian and Luiz Adriano.

The threat of Willian was proving particularly difficult to suppress. Twice before the break he brought the best out of Pardo, the goalkeeper tipping wide a stinging drive before denying the No10 at his near post following a measured ball in behind by Douglas.

Olexandr Rybka's only involvement had been to repel a floated Constantinos Charalambides free-kick but the Shakhtar keeper was alert five minutes before the break to keep out Ivan Tričkovski's attempt with his legs.

The visitors' dominance was illustrated by the half-time statistics − they had enjoyed 62% possession and had 11 attempts at goal to APOEL's three. They finally made their dominance count after the hour. Once again the irrepressible Willian was involved, teeing up overlapping left-back Vyacheslav Shevchuk for a cross which Luiz Adriano adroitly touched past Pardo.

Still APOEL failed to stir, with Rybka seldom troubled by a side seemingly content with their place in next Friday's round of 16 draw. Indeed, any hope the home fans harboured of a fightback was extinguished when Seleznyov put the gloss on a polished Shakhtar performance 12 minutes from time, tucking the rebound past Pardo after Fernandinho's powerful effort had been beaten out.

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