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Shakhtar forge on as La Real hopes end

FC Shakhtar Donetsk 4-0 Real Sociedad de Fútbol
The hosts control their own fate in Group A after moving second with a dominant victory against the Basque visitors.

Shakhtar 4-0 Real Sociedad: the story in photos ©AFP/Getty Images

FC Shakhtar Donetsk kept their UEFA Champions League Group A qualification hopes very much alive with a dominant win which ended Real Sociedad de Fútbol's European season.

In a dizzying encounter, Luiz Adriano, Alex Teixeira and Douglas Costa, on two occasions, demonstrated unerring finishing to punish a Real Sociedad side who battled valiantly throughout but could not do enough to extend their continental campaign beyond matchday six. Courtesy of Manchester United FC's victory at Bayer 04 Leverkusen, the Ukrainian champions sit a point above the German challengers, but face a tough final-day trip to Old Trafford with nothing guaranteed.

For the visitors, only maximum points at the Donbass Arena would maintain their slim round of 16 prospects, and they showed their intent early by dictating possession. However, Shakhtar goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov had little to worry about as fine passing combinations in midfield failed to result in opportunities for La Real.

The hosts soon roused themselves and slick interplay down the right after ten minutes allowed Teixeira to strike fiercely at Claudio Bravo who turned behind with his legs. Seven minutes later Bernard was given a free run into the box from the left but dragged his effort wide. Pressure continued to build on the Basque club's goal and on 37 minutes the breakthrough arrived after Darijo Srna's swerving attempt was tipped over. The ensuing corner was played short to Douglas Costa, who shrewdly crossed to the near post where onrushing Adriano beat Bravo to the ball with his toe and diverted in via the post.

The San Sebastian team responded gamely and almost pulled level moments before the half-time whistle, only for Iñigo Martínez to drill just over the bar from inside the area. Rather than opt for the conservative option after the restart, Shakhtar flooded forward in search of a second, a policy which paid dividends immediately. On 48 minutes Teixeira capitalised on an error from Martínez, stole into the box and smashed the bouncing ball perfectly into the far corner with his left boot.

Antoine Griezmann's volley was somehow turned behind by the lightning reactions of Pyatov as La Real endeavoured to get back into it, but a barnstorming counterattack was finished off by Costa's remarkable first-time effort from far on the left to drain the hope from Jagoba Arrasate's men once and for all. It was Costa, with three minutes remaining, who put the icing on the cake for Mircea Lucescu's side, who will be confident of doing what they must on the final day to once again make the knockout phase.

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