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Shakhtar secure second title

FC Shakhtar Donetsk have claimed their second Ukrainian Premier League championship with a game to spare.

Late equaliser
Anatoliy Tymoschuk put Shakhtar ahead after 23 minutes, but the home side hit back in the 71st minute through Oleksandr Kosyrin, and if the score had remained that way Mircea Lucescu's men would have faced a final day showdown against Dynamo - 3-0 home winners against FC Zakarpattya Uzhgorod - to decide the title.

Domination ended
However, Brazilian midfielder Matuzalem came to Shakhtar's rescue on 75 minutes before a last-minute goal from Ukraine striker Olexiy Bielik sealed the victory and the club's first championship since 2002. It is only the third time in the 15 years since Ukraine became an independent state that the league crown has been wrested from Dynamo's grasp.

Lucescu confidence
"We were always confident of winning the championship," Shakhtar coach Lucescu said. "Tonight's win has ultimately brought us the title but every match was important, starting with our victory over Dynamo Kyiv in the opening round until the last game [against the same opponents] on Thursday."

European places
As a result of their success, Shakhtar will enter the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League, while Dynamo's campaign will begin a stage earlier. Defeat by Shakhtar ends Chornomorets's UEFA Cup ambitions, allowing third-placed FC Metalurh Donetsk to claim a UEFA Cup second qualifying round berth for next season.

UEFA Cup berth
FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk will take the final UEFA Cup spot with a win at FC Metalist Kharkiv on Thursday. But should they slip FC Illychivets Mariupil, who lie one point behind, could pip them for fourth place.

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