In their Champions League Group H clash on Tuesday, Danylo Sikan’s towering header secured a 1-0 victory for Shakhtar Donetsk against LaLiga champions Barcelona.
In what could be seen as a letdown, the Spanish team, who had emerged victorious in their first three matches of the competition, found themselves requiring only a single point to secure their spot in the last 16 with two games still to be played.
In the game, Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez opted for various alterations to his starting lineup. However, despite a commanding presence on the field, they encountered difficulties in breaking through the solid Shakhtar defense. Their efforts resulted in only one accurate shot on goal throughout the match.
In a stunning turn of events, Sikan, aged 22, shook the Ukrainian side by scoring a goal in the 0th minute against the five-time European champions. Despite their domination of possession throughout the match in Hamburg, the Ukrainian team was caught off guard by this unexpected lead.
On Tuesday, Shakhtar secured their second victory of the group stage.
The above sentence can be rewritten as: The photograph by Marvin Ibo Guengoer from GES Sportfoto features prominently.
The striker leaped stealthily from behind defender Andreas Christensen, positioning himself strategically to receive a precise cross delivered by Giorgi Gocholeishvili from the right touchline. With incredible finesse, the striker skillfully headed the ball just beyond the grasp of Marc-Andre ter Stegen, the Barcelona goalkeeper.
Gocholeishvili, after the halftime break, skillfully took the ball from defender Marcos Alonso and ferociously fired a shot directly at the chest of Ter Stegen.
In a display of remarkable agility, the goalkeeper spectacularly deflected Sikan’s close-range attempt using his right foot in the 52nd minute. Furthermore, Newerton’s goal was disallowed due to an offside ruling at a later stage.
Until Xavi made four substitutions simultaneously in the 60th minute, Barca struggled to pose a threat to Dmytro Riznyk, the opposing goalkeeper. However, with João Félix and Lamine Yamal being brought off the bench by Xavi, the visitors finally gained the necessary energy and momentum.
Nevertheless, Shakhtar displayed resilience in the face of late pressure to secure the three points.
“We are furious as today we failed to meet the Champions League’s standards, which require the utmost level of performance. Is it the intensity? No, it’s simply that our performance in the game today was subpar. According to Xavi, we need to recuperate and enhance.
Barcelona continues to maintain their top spot in Group H, having secured nine points from four games. They currently lead Porto and Shakhtar by a margin of three points.
Later on Tuesday, the Portuguese team will face Antwerp, a team that has no points. The Portuguese side currently holds an additional game compared to their opponents.