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Shakhtar Donetsk 3 Anderlecht 1: Eduardo header puts Lucescu´s men in charge

Eduardo’s late header handed Shakhtar Donetsk a healthy first-leg advantage as they overcame Anderlecht 3-1 in the last 16 of the Europa League.

Taison and Olexandr Kucher hit Besnik Hasi’s side with a quick-fire first-half double to put the Ukrainians in control at the Lviv Arena, but Frank Acheampong’s 68th-minute goal threatened to put a very different complexion on things.

However, under-fire Anderlecht boss Hasi – whose side are enduring an underwhelming domestic campaign – saw his team’s chances of progressing to the quarter-finals drastically reduced when Eduardo powered a header past Silvio Proto, who was impressive despite conceding three times.

Proto was busy throughout and his saves kept Anderlecht in the tie, though they still have a mountain to climb on home soil next week after seeing a last-gasp goal ruled out for a handball from Kara Mbodji.

The visitors should have taken an eighth-minute lead when Acheampong was presented with a chance inside the box at the end of a rapid counter-attack but, after initially outmuscling his man, the Ghanaian dallied and his effort was blocked.

After a solid start, however, the Belgian side conceded twice in three minutes as their defence went to pieces.

First a careless piece of play from Andy Najar led to Taison steering a close-range effort beyond Proto after the goalkeeper had done well to deny Vitkor Kovalenko in the 21st minute.

Then Darijo Srna’s swinging cross was nodded in by Kucher – his first goal in 76 European outings – just a few seconds after Mbodji had slipped while in possession 20 yards from his own goal.

It was threatening to get ugly for Hasi and he was grateful to Proto for producing a fine stop from Facundo Ferreyra’s powerful drive just before the half-hour mark.

The woodwork was next to come to Anderlecht’s rescue as Eduardo took Proto out of the equation, but flashed his shot from a tight angle against the post.

Mircea Lucescu’s men were given a timely reminder they could not afford rest on their laurels early in the second half as Andriy Pyatov tipped Steven Defour’s low strike wide.

It was a warning that went unheeded, though, as Acheampong’s close-range header from substitute Ibrahima Conte’s cross reduced the arrears.

That sparked the hosts into life and Eduardo’s bullet header from Bernard’s 79th-minute corner ensured Shakhtar will travel west next Thursday with a two-goal cushion, as Mbodji’s blatant handball saw his goal chalked off four minutes from the end.

Thu 10 Mar, 2016
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