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Fernandinho saves Shakhtar in all-Ukraine showdown

Shakhtar Donetsk will take a slight advantage into the second leg of their UEFA Cup semi-final against fellow Ukrainians Dynamo Kiev after drawing 1-1 against them here in the first leg on Thursday.

Fernandinho equalised team-mate Dmytro Chygrynskiy’s first-half own goal to make Shakhtar favourites to become the first Ukrainian side to qualify for a major European final since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Shakhtar are the reigning Ukrainian champions but Dynamo lead the current domestic standings by 12 points from their rivals and it was the home side who drew first blood when Chygrynskiy deflected Oleksandr Aliyev’s driven free-kick into his own net in the 22nd minute.

Neither side had shown much attacking endeavour in a muted opening and the visitors didn’t threaten until Brazilian winger Fernandinho tested Dynamo goalkeeper Stanyslav Bohush with a low shot on the half-hour mark.

Bohush then raced from his line to deny Luiz Adriano as Shakhtar grew bolder, but in first-half injury time Dynamo almost increased their lead when Correa’s deflected strike brushed the right-hand upright.

Artem Milevskiy glanced a header wide from another Aliyev set-piece in the early stages of the second period before defender Ognjen Vukojevic diverted an Aliyev long-ranger inches wide shortly afterwards.

Dynamo were firmly in the ascendancy, but in the 68th minute three of Shakhtar’s Brazilian contingent combined to craft a priceless equaliser.

Jadson sprang the offside trap with a pass to substitute Willian on the right and his low cross was slid home by Fernandinho, putting Shakhtar firmly in the driving seat prior to the second leg on May 7.

The winners of the tie will play either Werder Bremen or Hamburg, who face off in the first leg of their all-German semi-final later on Thursday evening.

Thu 30 April, 2009
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