Shakhtar Donetsk kept their slim Champions League last-16 hopes alive by thumping Malmo 4-0 to record a first win in Group A.
After half an hour of constant pressure from the hosts – who are four points behind second-placed Paris Saint-Germain with two games remaining – in L’viv, Olexandr Gladkiy opened the scoring, forcing in the rebound after Malmo goalkeeper Johan Wiland saved his initial header.
Shakhtar were utterly rampant and Darijo Srna added a second from the penalty spot shortly after half-time when Alex Teixeira was fouled by Kari Arnason, before Eduardo scored the third.
Teixeira himself added the fourth to cap a dominant individual display, heading into an open goal after Wiland had saved from Marcio Azevedo with his legs. Arnason then compounded a disappointing evening for Malmo when he was sent off in the last minute.
Victory stopped the rot for Shakhtar, who had lost all three of their previous group games, but they face a tough task if they are to overhaul PSG, with matches against the Ligue 1 champions and Real Madrid to come.
Tuesday’s game got off to a rapid start with Bernard denied by Wiland and Markus Rosenberg flicking a shot over, all in the first three minutes.
Malmo were soaking up pressure and hitting Shakhtar on the break, as they did to great success in their 1-0 win when the sides met on the last matchday. And they almost took the lead after 21 minutes, Anton Kanibolotskiy forced into a fine save from Nikola Djurdjic.
A goal felt inevitable due to Shakhtar’s mounting pressure and it arrived just before the half hour. Malmo failed to clear properly and, when Azevedo held up a teasing cross to the back post, Gladkiy powered in the loose ball after Wiland saved his header.
Malmo looked tired after finishing their league season with a 2-0 defeat at the weekend and Teixeira came closest to making it 2-0 in the first half, bending a shot just wide from 20 yards before Wiland tipped his looping header over. Arnason was lucky not to concede a penalty as he caught the Brazilian in the face with a high foot as he connected with the ball.
Malmo were extremely fortunate to be just a single goal down at the break as Teixeira missed another brilliant chance on the stroke of half-time.
Shakhtar did make it 2-0 three minutes after the restart. Teixeira burst into the box with some fabulous skill, Arnason pulled him back and skipper Srna beat Wiland from 12 yards, although he got a hand to the spot-kick.
From then it was a case of how many the hosts would score and it was soon 3-0. Eduardo had replaced Gladkiy at the break and he took only nine minutes to find the net, getting enough on a header to divert a shot from Bernard beyond Wiland.
A fourth goal came with 18 minutes left as Teixeira got his reward for a bewitching second-half display. Wiland blocked Azevedo’s strike and the Brazilian was unmarked to nod into the net.
Arnason was dismissed for a second yellow card in the final minute to compound Malmo’s misery.