APOEL top of Group G after Shakhtar draw

BY foxsports • September 28, 2011

Jadson's equalizer for Shakhtar Donetsk three minutes after APOEL Nicosia had taken the lead secured a 1-1 draw for the Ukrainian champion in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Ivan Trickovski gave the Cypriot visitors a surprise lead in the 61st minute with a fine strike after a rare APOEL attack.

Shakhtar hit back almost immediately when Jadson fired in from a Willian cross.

But the home team will be disappointed not to have won after dominating possession and creating a number of chances to win the game.

Shakhtar, a quarterfinalist last season, now finds itself bottom of Group G with only one point from two games, while APOEL went top with four points. Porto and Zenit St. Petersburg have three points each after Zenit's 3-1 win earlier Wednesday.

The home side pushed forward from the start, while APOEL set out to defend.

''Shakhtar dominated, applied pressure. We knew that this team would control the game,'' APOEL coach Ivan Jovanovic said. ''However, we thought we'd have more chance to attack, which didn't happen. A 1-1 draw against Shakhtar is good luck for us. We'll take the table home and hang it up.''

In the ninth minute, Willian launched a shot from 25 yards, but goalkeeper Dionisis Chiotis dived to his right to save.

APOEL was sitting deep and trying to hit on the break but Shakhtar's defense, despite missing regulars Yaroslav Rakytskiy and Dmytro Chygrynskiy, easily dealt with Ailton, who was largely isolated in attack.

The quick feet and quick passing of Brazilian midfielders Willian and Jadson were causing problems for the visitors' defense, but Shakhtar failed to create any clear chances until the final 15 minutes of the half.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan drove forward past two players in the 31st minute, collected a layoff from Luiz Adriano, but couldn't get enough power behind his shot on the turn.

Suddenly, Shakhtar was threatening to break through. The best chance of the half fell to Adriano after good work by Dario Srna on the right. His cross fell to Adriano off a defender, but the striker somehow managed to volley the ball over from six yards out.

''I said it would be a tough game today,'' Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu said. ''We played against a very organized, experienced team. We dominated the game and created lots of chances, but we couldn't score goals.''

The second half continued in much the same fashion.

Alex Teixera twice found himself unmarked in the center with the goal open - but he couldn't stretch to reach the ball in the 56th minute, and in the 60th inexplicably put the ball wide.

One minute later, Trickovski surprised the Shakhtar defense to give APOEL the lead, firing past Oleksandr Rybka after a neat one-two.

Shakhtar hit back in the 64th. Willian fired in a cross, and Teixera again missed the ball, but Jadson was on hand to fire home.

But despite a total of 26 attempts on goal, against four for APOEL, Shakhtar couldn't find a winner.


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