Shakhtar Donetsk beats Antwerp to stay in the chase for a last-16 spot
HAMBURG, Germany (AP) — Mykola Matviyenko's diving header kept Shakhtar Donetsk in the hunt for a place in the Champions League knockout stage with a 1-0 win over Antwerp on Tuesday.
Shakhtar's victory, followed by Barcelona's 2-1 win over Porto later Tuesday, leaves the Ukrainian champion needing to beat Porto on Dec. 13 to qualify. Otherwise, Shakhtar heads for the Europa League after defeat ensured Antwerp will finish last in Group H.
Shakhtar has been a threat from set pieces in all of its group-stage games so far — and scored the only goal in its shock 1-0 win over Barcelona with a header at a free kick. The Ukrainian team did it again as Matviyenko dived forward to head in the ball off Oleksandr Zubkov's wide free kick in the 12th minute.
Shakhtar goalkeeper Dmytro Riznyk made some crucial saves from first Michel-Ange Balikwisha and later Arbnor Muja to keep his team in the lead. Antwerp goalkeeper Jean Butez twice tipped shots onto the crossbar, with an effort from Irakli Azarovi in the 55th and another from captain Taras Stepanenko's seven minutes after that.
Deep into stoppage time, the experienced defender Toby Alderweireld had a chance to salvage what would have been Antwerp's first point of the campaign. His shot from close range was parried by Riznyk, who then also saved an Alderweireld header with the last touch of the game.
The referee sent off Antwerp winger Muja after the final whistle following a confrontation between players from both teams.
Shakhtar is playing all of its Champions League home games in the German city of Hamburg because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Barcelona hosts Porto in the other game in the group later Tuesday.
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