SHAKHTAR ENTER THE BUSINESS END OF THE EUROPA LEAGUE!
Following their impressive 5-1 aggregate win v Wolfsburg last week, Shakhtar enter the QF’s for the first time since 15/16
Tonight they face Basel as the tournament enters its neutral one leg territory phase in Germany
UEL QUARTER FINAL:
Shakhtar v Basel
Shakhtar go into their first European QF since 15/16 as the slight favourites. They face Basel, who recently finished 3rd in the Swiss League
However they too knocked out Bundesliga opposition – Eintracht last week
Shakhtar’s 2nd leg 3-0 victory on paper – many would say flattered them
The reason for this was due to all 3 goals coming post 89’ – with Moraes grabbing a brace and sub Solomon getting one as well
However, this didn’t detract too much from the actual flow of the game
Both teams were down to 10 men from 70’ onwards – but Shakhtar dominated throughout the game
They had an opening 20 min period where Wolfsburg tried to get back into the tie – but once Shakhtar settled they easily began to dictate the tempo of play – as they did in 19/20 UPL
Moraes impressed – his persistence eventually paid off despite it not looking like it was going to be his day
He needs to be protected from injury as he remains the only experienced CF Shakhtar have
Fortunately they have an abundance of depth in midfield
Konoplyanka, Tete and Solomon can all be called up from the bench – to add attacking prowess against flailing defences
The main active problem area going into this fixture for Castro is in defence
Following Khocholava’s red card – there are a number of options Castro can use!
Potential defensive line ups:
Bolbat or Cipriano – LB / Matvienko – Kryvtsov / Dodô – RB
Matvienko – LB / Bondar – Kryvtsov / Dodô – RB
Dodô – LB / Matvienko – Kryvtsov / Bolbat or Cipriano- RB
Ukraine U20 WC winning captain Bondar took part in the pre match press conference which be of some significance to the XI
Shakhtar have a good record against Basel – won 2 and drawn 1
However, Swiss sides do have a tendency of being bogey teams for Ukrainian clubs – Young Boys defeating Shakhtar & Dynamo most recently
On the whole you would expect the Ukrainian champions to make it into the Semis – where Inter await!
A victory here in normal time will be the aim – to reserve as much energy as possible for Inter who did the deed inside 90’
More UEFA coefficient points on the line for Ukraine!