Aghahowa brace does the trick
By Peter ORourke. Last Updated: 07/12/04 9:32pm
Shakhtar Donetsk secured a Uefa Cup place with a 2-0 victory over an experimental Barcelona side.
Julius Aghahowa was the hero for the home side with two first half goals to enable them to finish third in the group ahead of Celtic who were held to a goalless draw by Milan in Glasgow.
Shakhtar started like the proverbial house on fire and came close to breaking the deadlock after just three minutes when Matuzalem played in Brandao, but the striker slid his shot wide of the target.
The home side did grab the breakthrough their dominance deserved on 14 minutes when Aghahowa superbly controlled Matuzalem's sublime 50-yard pass inside the box before coolly slotting the ball past Victor Valdes for his first ever UEFA Champions League goal.
Valdes denied Shakhtar a second goal five minutes later as he raced off his line quickly to save Brandao's shot after Matuzalem had again sliced open the Barcelona defence.
Brandao really should have made it 2-0 two minutes later when Flavius Stoican beat two Barcelona defenders down the right and crossed for Brandao unmarked six yards out, but the Brazilian somehow scooped his shot wide.
Shakhtar did not have to wait long to double their advantage with Aghahowa tapping home Brandao's cross at the far post from close range.
Barcelona's defence was at sixes and sevens as Shakhtar continued to trouble them with the long ball and Valdes had to be quickly off his line to deny Brandao a sight of goal on 29 minutes.
The Spaniards created their first noteworthy chance of the contest on 33 minutes with Xavi trying a long-range shot which Jan Lastuvka easily collected.
Shakhtar picked up in the second half where they left off in the first and the impressive Matuzalem should have got his name on the scoresheet when he weaved his way into the box, but Valdes stood up big to keep out the Brazilian's shot.
Igor Duljaj was lucky to escape a sending off on the hour mark with a late challenge on Fernando Navarro with referee Claus Bo Larsen only deeming the foul to be worthy of a caution.
Shakhtar were content to sit and defend their lead allowing Barcelona most of the possession and the Spaniards failed to make their superiority count with any clear-cut goalscoring opportunities.
Barcelona were handed the chance to reduce the arrears in stoppage time when Duljaj nudged Xavi inside the box, but Andres Iniesta saw his spot kick brilliantly saved by Lastuvka as Shakhtar secured their place in the Uefa Cup
|Shakhtar Donetsk||Team Statistics||Barcelona|
|2||1st Half Goals||0|
|4||Shots on Target||3|
|4||Shots off Target||4|
UEFA Champions League
Tue 7th Dec - Group H
PSG1 - 3CSKA Mosc
FC Porto2 - 1Chelsea
Tue 7th Dec - Group G
Valencia0 - 2W Bremen
Inter3 - 0Anderlecht
Tue 7th Dec - Group F
Celtic0 - 0AC Milan
Shak Donetsk2 - 0Barcelona
Tue 7th Dec - Group E
Arsenal5 - 1Rosenborg
Panathinaikos4 - 1PSV
UEFA Champions League Group A
UEFA Champions League Group B
UEFA Champions League Group C
|1||Paris St Germain||6||13|
UEFA Champions League Group D
|3||FC Viktoria Plzen||6||3|
UEFA Champions League Group E
|4||FC Steaua Bucuresti||6||3|
UEFA Champions League Group F
UEFA Champions League Group G
|2||Zenit St. Petersburg||6||6|
UEFA Champions League Group H