The visitors played the most impressive football of their European campaign and picked up a deserved the victory over Ivan Jovanovic’s men, but ultimately crash out of Europe
The visitors had the first chance of the game when young playmaker Willian saw his rasping shot from outside the area go over the bar.
The Ukrainians started much the brighter team and APOEL hardly saw any of the ball in the opening minutes.
Shakhtar should have taken the lead in the 12th minute when they were awarded a penalty after Nektarios Alexandrou brought down Fernandinho inside his own area, but Urko Pardo guessed correctly and pushed away Luiz Adriano’s effort.
The visitors continued to attack the opposition goal with Willian going close on a number of occasions, but couldn’t open the scoring.
The home side had their first effort on goal after 22 minutes when Constantinos Charalambidis’ long range free kick almost met an APOEL head in the area, but Oleksandr Rybka did well to hold the ball.
Shakhtar had the majority of the possession and chances as the first-half wore on, but the Cypriot side were spared their blushes by some fantastic goalkeeping from Pardo, especially when he pushed Willian's shot away for a corner.
The hosts had their first shot on goal in the 40th minute when a quickly taken corner led to Ivan Trickovski receiving the ball inside the area and shooting goalwards, but Rybka saw the effort out for another corner.
As the teams went in at half-time, Mircea Lucescu’s men were unlucky not to be ahead and APOEL had their in-form goalkeeper to thank for the 0-0 scoreline.
Shakhtar started the second-half with the same passion they showed in the opening 45 minutes.
Willian continued to look dangerous and linked up well with fellow Brazilians Luiz Adriano and Fernandinho, while Darijo Srna had the first chance of the half, but saw his effort palmed away by Pardo.
The visitors took a deserved lead in the 62nd minute when Willian played a slick pass to Vyacheslav Shevchuk inside the area who slotted the ball across the goal into the path of Luiz Adriano, who did well to clip the ball past Pardo.
Shakhtar almost doubled their advantage five minutes later when an in-swinging cross found Douglas Costa, but Pardo spread himself well to block the shot.
Luiz Adriano found the loose ball in the area and struck the ball on target, only for Pardo to save the effort.
The game looked out of APOEL’s reach in the 79th minute when Fernandinho unleashed a rocket that Pardo could only fumble into the path of Yevhen Seleznyov, and the Ukrainian coolly slotted the ball round the helpless keeper and into the net.
As the game drew to a close, it was Shakhtar who continued to press, with Willian searching for the goal he thoroughly deserved.
Limited chances for APOEL did not seem to dampen the crowd’s spirits who were in full voice throughout the match.
A loss for APOEL doesn’t affect their position at the top of Group G, but Shakhtar’s win does not take them off the bottom of the group, however it at least gives them something to smile about after a very disappointing campaign.
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