San José shows way for Athletic at Shakhtar

FC Shakhtar Donetsk 0-1 Athletic Club
Mikel San José's second-half goal left Athletic Club in the box seat for third in Group H, though Shakhtar nevertheless advanced.

Athletic in pole position for UEFA Europa League spot after first victory
Porto's 3-0 win at BATE sent Shakhtar through before kick-off
Mikel San José scores first goal of the season
Olexandr Kucher, Carlos Gurpegi, Luiz Adriano, Darijo Srna out of matchday six
Next games: Porto v Shakhtar, Athletic v BATE (10 December)

Mikel San José's goal midway through the second half in Lviv earned a win that lifted Athletic Club to third in UEFA Champions League Group H although FC Shakhtar Donetsk had already qualifed for the knockout stage by then.

FC Porto's 3-0 victory at FC BATE Borisov in the early game meant Shakhtar's presence in the round of 16 draw on 15 December was assured before kick-off, and without the pressure the hosts struggled to find their intensity. A tepid first half came and went, and while the Pitmen stepped it up after the restart it was San José – a threat throughout – who conjured the only goal.

Shakhtar have been in rich scoring form this season, reaching the 50 mark on Saturday and registering 25 times in their last seven matches alone. The initial signs were for more of the same, with the Pitmen's attacking intent underlined by two offside decisions in the opening 20 minutes – against right-back Vyacheslav Shevchuk.

Alex Teixera twice threatened in one-on-one situations but Gorka Iraizoz held his own and gradually Athletic got a grip on proceedings, their fluid shape in midfield and the dead-ball presence of San José causing problems. Those issues for Shakhtar seemed to have vanished after the restart, but the wastefulness at the other end persisted: Douglas Costa and Luiz Adriano were both guilty.

Mircea Lucescu, stood on the touchline with his hat pulled right down, might have been tempted to cover his eyes; doubly so on 68 minutes when San José stole in at the far post to spear in a testing Beñat free-kick. Still Shakhtar did not snap from their torpor, at least until the final moments when they laid siege to the visitors' goal.

Athletic resisted, however, and need only a draw at home to BATE in a fortnight to clinch a UEFA Europa League spot. They will be shorn of Carlos Gurpegi, suspended after being booked tonight; Olexandr Kucher, Luiz Adriano and Darijo Srna will also sit out matchday six for a Shakhtar side now destined to finish second.

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