(Translated by Thomas Snaith)
BEFORE THE GAME:
Six years after their last participation, FCB is back in the round of the last eight of the UEFA Europa League, which will be played in knockout mode this time round. For the difficult challenge which lied ahead, FCB faced the Ukrainian giants FC Shakhtar Donetsk at the Auf Schalke Arena. Marcel Koller relied on the almost identical team that made it into the quarter-finals with FCB´s 1-0 victory against Eintracht Frankfurt last Thursday - with one exception : As Eray Cömert had been suspended, Jasper van der Werff will take his place in central defence.
The two teams last met twelve years ago, and with Andriy Pyatov and Valentin Stocker, the two current captains who meet again.
The First HALF:
The Ukrainians took the lead with their first action of the game: In the 2nd minute, Marlos took a corner kick and Júnior Moraes headed the ball into the net making it 1-0. Djordje Nikolic hurried out of the box, putting his team in danger, resulting in the opener for Shakhtar. FCB was ready to react and in return Arthur Cabral just missed the goal with a diving header.
It got even more dangerous ten minutes later after a dribble by Afimico Pululu, who swept down the wing, attempting a shot on target from an tight angle.
THE EARLY SHAKHTAR GOAL PLAYED INTO THEIR CARDS.
What followed was a longer period of Shakhtar pressure and after twenty minutes the Ukrainians were able to celebrate yet again. This time Taison´s deflected shot, 16 metres from goal crossed the goal line. A strong Nikolic was now needed more than ever, so that Shakhtar´s lead did not turn into an even higher defeat for FCB - as well as a little luck: Namely when Marcos Antônio hit the crossbar in the final minutes of the first half.
The second Half:
The second half was much more balanced and FCB was now even closer to a goal than Shakhtar. It is certainly worth mentioning Cabral´s dangerous lob from the edge of the penalty area as well as two controversial scenes in Shakhtar's penalty box: In a duel between Pululu and Dodô the ball seemed to have been handled by the Ukranian, a potential penalty situation for FCB. On the other side of the pitch, the Ukranians were awarded a penalty after Yannick Marchand fouled Taison in the box. Alan Patrick scored the 3-0 and in the closing minutes of the fixture it was Dodô who increased the score to 4-0.
WE WOULD HAVE NEEDED TO PLAY TO NEAR PERFECTION in order to have qualified.
It was not all bad for Rotblau on the night: Substitute Ricky van Wolfswinkel scored FCB´s only goal in stoppage time to make it 4-1, final score.
AFTER THE GAME:
FCB had a difficult task to master and of course things didn't get any easier after falling behind within minutes after kick off. At times, however, Basel were playing on Shakhtar´s level and had several good phases throughout the fixture. Especially after the break, when FCB were moving forward and playing attacking football, they created several opportunities. Overall Shakhtar's victory is certainly deserved.
AT THE MOMENT WE ARE DISSAPOINTED, BUT IN A FEW DAYS WE CAN PROUDLY LOOK BACK ON THIS CAMPAIGN.
Nevertheless, the Basel side can be proud of what has been achieved. The fact that Koller´s team advanced so confidently into the round of the last eight and thus were allowed to take part in this unique tournament format in North Rhine-Westphalia was already an extraordinary achievement. Any additional success would have been a surprise. Basel were hopeful for a positive result, but the Ukrainians were too strong on the night and are therefore deserve to have qualified for the semi-finals.
FC Shakhtar Donetsk – FC Basel 1893 4:1 (2:0)
Arena AufSchalke. – No supporters. – Referee Michael Oliver (England).
Goals: 2. Júnior Moraes 1:0 (Marlos). 22. Taison 2:0 (Marlos). 75. Alan Patrick 3:0 (Foulpenalty). 88. Dodô 4:0 (Tetê). 92. Van Wolfswinkel 4:1 (Ademi).
Shakhtar: Pyatov; Dodô, Kryvtsov, Bondar, Matviyenko; Marcos Antônio (86. Maycon), Stepanenko; Marlos (72. Solomon), Alan Patrick (78. Kovalenko), Taison (86. Tetê); Júnior Moraes (86. Fernando).
FCB: Nikolic; Widmer, van der Werff (73. Ramires), Alderete, Petretta; Xhaka (60. Marchand) ; Stocker (73. van Wolfswinkel), Frei, Campo, Pululu; Cabral (73. Ademi).
Notes: Shakhtar without Ismaily, Malyschev, Tankovskiy, Vakula (all injured) uand Khocholava (suspended). FCB without Omlin and Zuffi (both injured). Substitutes FCB: Ademi, Bunjaku, de Mol, Isufi, Lurvink, Marchand, Pukaj, Ramires, Riveros, Tushi, van Wolfswinkel and Vishi. – Yellow Cards: 26. Frei. – 40. Hit the crossbar Marcos Antônio. 52. Alan Patrick. 64. Cabral. 87. Bondar.