Shakhtar holds Manchester United to 1-1 draw
DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — Manchester United conceded a late equalizer in a 1-1 draw with Shakhtar to take a point from their Group A clash on Wednesday, giving David Moyes more than any other manager of an English club returning from a Champions League match in Donetsk.
Moyes didn’t get the morale-boosting win United needed after sluggish start in the Premier League, but the point was more than Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea managed in previous Champions League trips to Shakhtar.
“It was a good point in the Champions League coming here, they’ve got a great record against English teams here,” Moyes said. “The team stood up well tonight, they got a good goal early ... and I thought we looked as if we were going to stop them scoring; we defended very well.”
Danny Welbeck gave United an unexpected lead in the 18th as he slid in between two players to finish off after defender Yaroslav Rakitsky failed to clear Marouane Felliani’s low cross.
But the highlights were rare for United. Shakhtar’s Brazilian attacking quartet of Douglas Costa, Alex Teixeira, Luiz Adriano and Taison created numerous chances and the continual threat paid off in the 76th minute, when Taison finally broke through with a powerful volley after Nemanja Vidic failed to clear a cross from Rakitsky.
“United took advantage of our mistake, it was a chance goal,” Shakhtar coach Mircea Liucescu said. “United then sat on its half of the pitch and played for counterattack. It was our plan to bring it on in the last 25 minutes, which is why the ball ended up in the penalty area of United often. Too bad we scored only once.”
Both teams had opportunities. Robin Van Persie tried his luck first in the 9th with a volley that sailed over the cross bar. Three minutes later Rakitsky seized possession and sparked an attack that lead to Luiz Adriano’s narrow miss. A minute later Teirxeira fell to the pitch in the area but his appeal for a penalty was ignored.
Rakitskiy’s free kick from 40 meters went just wide in the 50th minute and, despite relentlessly pressing forward, Shakhtar was held in check by the stubborn United defense until Taison’s goal.
It wasn’t until the last 5 minutes that Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea was forced into making more meaningful saves.
United was playing without Wayne Rooney, who was sidelined after clashing shins with Welbeck in training, and was coming off an upset loss to West Bromwich Albion on the weekend.
Moyes said there were positives in the draw, and the fact United had a share of the lead in the group with four points, but he wasn’t getting carried away with the result.
“You have to win other games if we’re going to progress further in this competition,” he said. “But I think on paper this looked a hard away tie and we’ve picked up a good point.”
Welbeck said the draw was a move in the right direction.
“I don’t think many teams come here and get three points,” he said. “We’re a bit disappointed, we’re Manchester United and we want to win every single game but coming here and getting the point, you’ve got to be satisfied with it.”