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HT: Shakhtar reply to Atalanta

HT: Shakhtar reply to Atalanta

Atalanta suffered another Champions League defeat with the last kick of the game at San Siro, having gone in front and missed a Josip Ilicic penalty.

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Gian Piero Gasperini’s men got a rude awakening in their historic Champions League debut, beaten 4-0 at Dinamo Zagreb, but their home fixtures in this tournament are played at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in Milan. Luis Muriel recovered from tonsillitis for a spot on the bench, with Papu Gomez, Josip Ilicic and Duvan Zapata upfront. Shakhtar missed Andrii Totovystksi, with Davit Khocholava and Bogdan Butko not fully fit in defence after their opening 3-0 home defeat to Manchester City.

Ilicic went down quite easily under a mistimed Serhiy Kryvtsvov sliding challenge after great build-up work with Gomez, passing back and forth within the box, and the VAR review judged it to still be a penalty. The Slovenian stepped up and saw his fairly central spot-kick saved by Andriy Pyatov.

They were made to wait a little longer for their historic first ever Champions League goal. There was a strong counter with Ilicic releasing Mario Pasalic to thump the upright from 10 yards, but the move continued and Hans Hateboer whipped the cross in for Duvan Zapata’s powerful header at the back post.

Shakhtar Donetsk fought back, Pierluigi Gollini beating away a long-range Marlos snapshot, and just before half-time Junior Moraes sprung the offside trap to dribble round the goalkeeper and turn in from a tight angle, as Jose Luis Palomino tried to make a desperate clearance off the line.

With the last kick of the half, the Ukrainians almost went in front, as Marlos curled a sensational free kick over the wall that bounced off the crossbar.

Papu Gomez didn’t put enough power behind the shot from the edge of the box and at the end of a well-worked move, Gomez rolled across the face of goal for Duvan Zapata to come sliding in and turn wide from five yards.

The Colombian again got away from defenders, but Pyatov bravely rushed off his line and used his body to parry from a tight angle. He did the same on Papu Gomez, send clear through the middle, and Luis Muriel’s strike was deflected after a well-worked counter-attack by Pasalic.

Taras Stepanenko had a powerful shot beaten away, but Ruslan Malinovskyi’s scorcher skimmed the upright with Pyatov stranded.

In stoppages, Muriel went on a blazing run from midfield, pulled back for Gomez and Pyatov got down brilliantly to palm it off the line.

Just as Atalanta were pouring forward to get the win, they were caught out by a classic counter-attack and lost the game instead. Taison started the run practically from his own half, Dodo rolled it across and fellow substitute Manor Solomon kept his cool to beat Gollini one-on-one.

Atalanta 1-2 Shakhtar Donetsk

Duvan Zapata 28 (A), Junior Moraes 41 (S), Solomon 95 (S)

Atalanta: Gollini; Toloi, Masiello (Muriel 68), Palomino; Hateboer (Gosens 57), De Roon, Pasalic, Castagne; Gomez; Ilicic (Malinovskyi 57), Duvan Zapata

Shakhtar Donetsk: Pyatov; Bolbat (Dodo 93), Kryvtsov, Matviyenko, Ismaily; Stepanenko, Patrick (Solomon 69); Marlos (Konoplyanka 86), Kovalenko, Taison; Junior Moraes

Ref: Stieler (GER)

Saved penalty: Ilicic 15 (A)

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