shakhtar brush aside youthful barcelona published: wednesday 10 december 2008, 0.35cet
fc barcelona 2-3 fc shakhtar donetsk
olexandr gladkiy scored two and fernandinho one as the ukrainian team rounded off group c with a memorable victory over the section winners.
by graham hunter from camp nou
it took mircea lucescu 35 years of trying as a player and a coach but matchday 6 finally brought the romanian his first competitive victory in spain as fc shakhtar donetsk took full advantage of an inexperienced fc barcelona side to earn a memorable uefa champions league success.
valuable exercise josep guardiola's willingness to give his young charges valuable experience also cost the spanish liga leaders their unbeaten group c record, two goals from olexandr gladkiy and fernandinho's third trumping efforts from sylvinho and sergio busquets. barça pushed adventurously all night but shakhtar's crafty and well-executed counterattacking, based on lightning wing-back play and a solid performance from goalkeeper andriy pyatov, won the day. shakhtar might have been eliminated, but eight goals in their last two games will boost their confidence for the uefa cup campaign ahead.
crisp passing guardiola had underlined his eagerness to learn more about some of the fringe members of his first-team squad and test younger players who had served him so well last season as coach of barça's b side. as such the early exchanges must have given the coach a shiver of excitement. among the eight rested regulars, all of whom sat in the camp nou main stand, were stars like lionel messi, carles puyol and samuel eto'o. yet the pressing was the same as usual, the passing as crisp and clever, and lucescu's more experienced team were pushed back on their heels, aleksandr hleb stinging the palms of pyatov with a fierce shot and pedro rodríguez threatening with a header.
thumping goal then came the test of nerve as shakhtar broke with pace, power and precision to take a 31st-minute lead. răzvan raţ and olexandr kucher worked space for willian on the right and his perfectly-weighted ball allowed gladkiy to muscle his way past barça's defenders and thump a shot beyond albert jorquera. lucescu had brusquely warned his players not to come to the camp nou "on their holidays" and the importance of the goal was indicated when pyatov ran from his area to the far corner of the pitch to celebrate with his team-mates. barça regrouped swiftly and the impressive hleb led the search for an equaliser, creating openings for seydou keita and bojan krkić before pedro wriggled past three defenders but shot just wide.
rapid response then vázquez rapped another shot against pyatov's gloves only for shakhtar to immediately double their advantage on a counterattack the second half shaped to duplicate what had gone before. this time, however, there was a twist. in the 58th minute, jadson's deep left-wing free-kick was misjudged by jorquera and gladkiy was left with a simple nod into an unguarded net. sixty seconds later barcelona were back in the contest as sylvinho exchanged passes with keita and thrashed a stunning left-foot drive beyond pyatov.
late reply shakhtar's intelligent football earned them their third goal in the 76th minute when raţ overlapped and delivered a perfect cross for the unmarked fernandinho to volley a third. barcelona had the last word, substitute eidur gudjohnsen playing in busquets with a clever chip that the 20-year-old clipped past pyatov, but the evening belonged to the ukrainian champions.