UEFA Cup – Shakhtar lift UEFA Cup
Goalkeeping errors were the order of the night as Shakhtar Donetsk lifted the last UEFA Cup with a 2-1 extra-time win over Werder Bremen in Istanbul.
An entertaining first half saw Shakhtar play better football and create more chances but a terrible mistake from Andriy Pyatov allowed Naldo to level Luiz Adriano’s opener.
The second half was a turgid affair although proceedings opened up in extra-time, with Jadson’s low shot – mishandled by Tim Wiese – enough to give the Ukrainian side a historic first European trophy in the ultimate final ahead of next year’s inaugural Europa League.
All three goals were scored by Brazilians and both sides came into the knockout stages after group stage exits in the Champions League, making somewhat of a mockery of Europe’s secondary club competition.
A frantic opening by Shakhtar saw Adriano miss a sitter, putting wide after he was played through by Jadson on five minutes.
They took the lead on 25 minutes when Adriano atoned for his profligacy by deftly chipping over Wiese after Bremen let a harmless through ball from Razvan Rat bisect the defence.
Two minutes later, Adriano missed again, this time firing over from just inside the area, and the German side levelled on 35 minutes after a soft free-kick saw defender Naldo smash a fierce shot straight at Pyatov, who fumbled the ball into his own net.
It was a dreadful error but the immediate response of his team-mates was to high-five their keeper, encouraging him to make several good stops later in the game.
Initially, though, it seemed that his Bremen counterpart Wiese would take all the plaudits after he denied Mariusz Lewandowski with a great low save to his right with four minutes of the half remaining.
Five minutes into the second, the Germany international shot-stopper was called into action again, tipping away Dario Srna’s free-kick for a corner.
What followed was poor from both sides, though, as legs seemed to tire and play was broken up by bitty foul after bitty foul.
With 11 minutes of normal time remaining, Pyatov went from zero to hero when he brilliantly dived low to the right to stop Claudio Pizarro’s downward header from giving Bremen a win they barely deserved.
The match petered out to extra-time, which Shakhtar came out for with the kind of urgency that saw them impress in the first half.
Srna quickly forced a good stop from Wiese with a long-range effort but the Bremen number one handed Shakhtar the win when, after a good low cross from Srna on the right win came to Jadson, he let the low, weak finish slide through his grasp and into the back of the net.
In the latter stages Bremen went close twice, with Pizarro first denied a headed goal by a good Pyatov stop and then a last-gasp equaliser when he was correctly adjudged to have fouled impressive Shakhtar defender Dymytro Chygrynskiy before finishing from close range.
But despite their late efforts Bremen could not force penalties and Shakhtar became the first Ukrainian side to win the UEFA Cup.