Despite first loss, APOEL wins CL group
UCL RESULTS: DEC. 6
|Tuesday, December 6|
|Viktoria Plzen||0-2||AC Milan||Review|
|More: Europe | Champions League|
APOEL reached the last 16 of its first Champions League campaign as group winner despite losing its unbeaten record after a 2-0 home defeat by Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday.
APOEL had already become the first Cypriot team to qualify for the knockout round but stayed top of Group G after Zenit St. Petersburg drew 0-0 at FC Porto to go through as runner-up.
Luiz Adriano and Yevhen Seleznyov scored second-half goals for Shakhtar to win its first group stage match this season.
With no chance of qualifying or finishing third to reach the Europa League, Shakhtar had nothing to lose and piled on the pressure from the start with its speedy attacks flustering an APOEL team displaying an uncustomary lack of poise.
Shaktar was awarded a penalty in the 11th minute when Nektarios Alexandrou was yellow carded for fouling Fernandinho in the box. But goalkeeper Urko Pardo guessed the right way and saved Adriano's spot kick.
Adriano made up for the miss by scoring in the 62nd, redirecting a cross by Vyacheslav Shevchuk into the net from close range.
Shaktar's second came when an unmarked Seleznyov picked up the rebound from Urko Pardo's save off a long-range shot from Willian and slotted the ball in the net in the 78th minute.
The goals were preceded by a flurry of chances, including in the 30th when a through pass put Willian alone on goal, but Pardo blocked the Brazilian's close-range effort.
Two minutes later, Willian carried the ball from midfield and his 22-yard blast forced Pardo into a diving save.
Pardo again impressed in the 68th when he made back-to-back saves on a flick from Douglas Costa from Darijo Srna's cross and a follow-up shot by Adriano from inside the box.
APOEL didn't have many good chances to score. The hosts came closest five minutes before halftime when Shakhtar goalkeeper Olexandr Rybka just got enough of the ball from APOEL striker Ivan Trickovski's close-range effort for it to trickle wide of the net.