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Shakhtar Donetsk 2-0 Nordsjaelland: Mkhitaryan impresses as Danish side are despatched
The Ukrainian champions got their first home European win in four attempts, against Kapser Hjulmand's brave but outclassed Champions League debutants
By Alex Mott
A double from Henrik Mkhitaryan was enough to see of the Wild Tigers, in a game which saw the Danes make a good fist of their European debut.
Mircea Lucescu named an attacking starting XI for the game against the Danish champions, with Luiz Adriano, Willian, Ilsinho and Fernandinho all leading the line.
And it was the Ukrainian side who made all the early running. Ilsinho catching out Ivan Runje early on, and perhaps should have done better with a cut-back from the byline, that left Mkhitaryan frustrated at his Brazilian team-mate.
Slowly though, Kasper Hjulmund's side got back into the game, and started to show some nice touches in and around the area. American full-back Michael Parkhurst put in a decent cross on 20 minutes, but neither Joshua John nor Mikkel Beckmann could get on the end of it.
Still Nordsjaelland came forward, and it was captain Nicolai Stokholm who had the side's best effort of the half on 31 minutes. The 36-year-old surged forward from midfield and struck a sweet shot from 25 yards, only to see Andriy Pyatov palm it away to safety.
All the possession and missed chances though, came back to haunt the Danes on 44 minutes. Luiz Adriano made a smart run down the right-hand side, before feeding in Mkhitaryan to pass home first-time, from 12 yards.
The second period began in much the same fashion as the first, with Shakhtar having the majority of possession, and not creating too many clear-cut chances.
The best of them though, came on 52 minutes. A corner from Willian went out to Darijo Srna on the edge of the area, who smashed a volley at goal, only to see Jesper Hansen palm the ball away well.
Hjulmund's team were clearly tiring by now, and Shakhtar really should have taken full advantage on the hour-mark. A through-ball from Fernandinho went towards Mkhitaryan, but the forward could not poke his effort past the goalkeeper.
The second did eventually come though on 77 minutes. Mkhitaryan raced through, and tried to lay in Alex Texeira. Patrick Mtiliga though, accidentally played it back to the Armenia international, who dispatched first-time to double the scoreline and bag the three points.
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