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Shakhtar in control after sinking Rapid

Rapid Wien 0-1 Shakhtar Donetsk
Marlos slid in a potentially crucial away goal in the 44th minute as Mircea Lucescu's men took control of the tie in Vienna.

Shakhtar goalscorer Marlos (far left) takes the plaudits after his strike in Austria
Shakhtar goalscorer Marlos (far left) takes the plaudits after his strike in Austria ©Getty Images
  • Marlos's shot finds the bottom corner in the 44th minute to give Shakhtar the win
  • Clincher comes moments after Andriy Pyatov's outstanding save from Louis Schaub
  • Rapid have an uphill task if they are to end a nine-year group stage absence
  • Second leg to be played in Lviv on Tuesday

Shakhtar Donetsk are on track to make it a sixth successive UEFA Champions League group stage appearance after coming away from a frantic play-off first leg in Vienna with a 1-0 win.

Despite the energy and intensity of Rapid Wien's play the Ukrainian visitors held firm before countering with Marlos's clinical 44th-minute finish. Mircea Lucescu's men barely threatened after the interval but kept the hosts at arms' length to register a first-ever success in Austria.

Florian Kainz tumbles under the pressure of Fred
Florian Kainz tumbles under the pressure of Fred©AFP/Getty Images

Nine seasons since their last group stage appearance, it was the hosts who seemed intent on breaking their drought and almost went ahead through Louis Schaub's header which drifted just wide before Mario Sonnleitner thumped an effort of his own over from a corner. A mixup in the Rapid defence was rescued by goalkeeper Ján Novota when he denied Olexandr Gladkiy from close range, though opposite number Andriy Pyatov outdid the home No1 three minutes before the interval with a superb, one-handed reflex stop from Schaub's volley.

The save proved vital as moments later Yaroslav Rakitskiy crossed from the left, Marlos controlled, dummied his way past Stephan Auer and finished low to give Shakhtar the lead. Apart from Alex Teixeira's drilled effort across goal on the counter the visitors were happy to soak up pressure and nullify the hosts in the second period, something they did expertly. Schaub whipped an effort wide from just outside the area for Rapid and Mario Pavelic drilled off target from very long range, but it was not enough and the hosts eventually ran out of ideas in falling to a first loss in all competitions this season.

Taras Stepanenko went off injured at half-time
Taras Stepanenko went off injured at half-time©Getty Images

Zoran Barisic, Rapid coach

It was a tough, thrilling game. We were just a bit short of luck – before conceding the goal we had a great chance to score which we missed, and with a bit of luck that could have gone in. We saw we can compete at such a high level. Every win is deserved in a certain way. Tonight we played against a top European side but it was an even game. I do not think Shakhtar underestimated us, they showed us respect.

Mircea Lucescu, Shakhtar coach
Taras Stepanenko could not feel his arm after the accident at the end of the first half and he remains in hospital. It was a very intense and aggressive game. We were the better side in the first half, but unfortunately missed the good opportunities we had. We wanted to keep the ball well away from our goal, as we knew about Rapid's powerful attack. Rapid pressed high up really well. In the second half we could not risk as much, because it is a Champions League tie.