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UEFA Champions League Preview: Shakhtar Donetsk v Manchester United

Shakhtar Donetsk and Manchester United will meet for the first time in Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League clash in Ukraine.

The two sides come into the game having won their opening Group A fixtures, with Shakhtar defeating Real Sociedad 2-0 in Spain while United ran out 4-2 victors over Bayer Leverkusen at Old Trafford.

Shakhtar have won all three of their previous home fixtures against English opposition in the Champions League, with successes over Arsenal in 2000-01 and 2010-11 before last season’s 2-1 victory over Chelsea, which helped eliminate the then-holders of the competition.

United’s last visit to Ukraine was a successful one though, ending in a 4-2 win over Dynamo Kiev in the 2007-08 group stage.

And Mircea Lucescu’s men head into the fixture on the back of a run of inconsistent league form, having won only one of their past five matches in the Ukrainian Premier League, a division they have won for the last four consecutive seasons.

They currently sit third in the table, having dropped 10 points from the opening 11 games – just one point less than they missed out on in the whole of the last term.

Shakhtar’s latest outing saw them come from two goals down to rescue a point against local rivals Metalurh Donetsk, with Eduardo coming off the bench to bag the equaliser with eight minutes remaining.

United, under new manager David Moyes, have also struggled for form domestically this season.

The three-time European champions have taken just seven points from their first six Premier League games, their worst start to a season since the 1989-90 campaign.

Moyes came in for criticism following Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat at the hands of West Bromwich Albion, a result that leaves the reigning champions eight points adrift of early leaders Arsenal.

However, the former Everton boss will have Nani available for the trip to Donetsk after the Portuguese winger missed the opening game through suspension following his red card in last season’s exit to Real Madrid.

Wayne Rooney’s two goals against Leverkusen made him the all-time leading British scorer in the competition with 29 goals, while Robin van Persie’s strike in the same game means he has now scored in 10 consecutive Champions League seasons.

Mon 30 September, 2013
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