Fernandinho struck with four minutes remaining to earn Shakhtar Donetsk a draw with Timisoara as last season’s UEFA Cup winners had to fight back from behind twice in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie.
Shakhtar’s Romanian coach Mircea Lucescu, who missed the game through illness, has set his sights on a lengthy UEFA Champions League campaign after lifting the UEFA Cup in May, but his ambitions received an early blow when Gheorghe Bucur struck on 20 minutes to put his compatriots ahead.
Substitute Olexandr Gladkiy restored parity on the hour only for Bucur to score again with ten minutes to play. Fernandinho’s late riposte, however, leaves Shakhtar on level terms ahead of Wednesday’s return, though Timisoara remain in command.
The outcome might have been different had Fernandinho and Darijo Srna not missed good early chances and TimiÂºoara made the most of their let off when Winston Parks surged past Vyacheslav Shevchuk and teed up Bucur on 20 minutes.
The goal knocked Shakhtar off their stride and it was not until Dmytro Chygrynskiy and Gladkiy had replaced Mykola Ischenko and Shevchuk at half-time that they began to threaten again.
TimiÂºoara goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon made a number of long-range stops and Luiz Adriano hit the bar before Gladkiy finally found a way through when he headed in Srna’s cross from the right.
With the scores level Shakhtar seized control. Jadson was unlucky to see a 30-metre free-kick hit the woodwork and Fernandinho and Gladkiy both came close.
Against the run of play, however, TimiÂºoara struck again as Bucur got the better of Olexandr Kucher before firing his side ahead.
Fernandinho hit back for Shakhtar with four minutes to play and the home side almost won it at the death, but Tomas Hübschman’s last-minute effort was brilliantly saved by Pantilimon.