Shakhtar shock young Gunners

EDUARDO returned to haunt his old club as Shakhtar Donetsk fought back from a goal down to beat Arsenal 2-1 in tonight’s Champions League Group H clash at Donbass Arena.

England forward Theo Walcott had slotted in a fine breakaway goal after 10 minutes for the injury-hit Barclays Premier League side, who were without captain Cesc Fabregas.

However, Shakhtar — trashed 5-1 at Emirates Stadium a fortnight ago — responded well and were eventually rewarded when 19-year-old Craig Eastmond, making his European debut, diverted Dmytro Chygrynskiy’s header into his own net.

Eduardo — who scored a late consolation goal in north London — slotted home from close range on the stroke of half-time, which proved enough to force his old club to wait for qualification to the knockout stages.

Walcott nonetheless believes Arsenal are still well-placed to qualify for the knockout stages, despite the defeat.

“It’s a tough place to come to. They have a good home record,” Walcott told Sky Sports 2.

“You want an early goal. We wanted to silence the crowd and work from there, but that’s football in the end. Going in a 2-1 down, it could have been more for them. We didn’t defend very well after going ahead.

“My goal doesn’t mean anything because we couldn’t quite get the win. But we’re still in a strong position. We’re still top.”

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger had warned his team not to expect another European romp against a side which boasted an impressive home record, the Miners having kept clean sheets in nine from 10 matches, and lost just two of the last 30 games in all competitions.

And last night he said his injury-hit squad showed a lack of maturity to allow Shakhtar to recover from going behind early.

“We had a good start but after that we became too easy,” he said.

“We were punished against a good team. It’s a good lesson for us. We were shown you can not get through without a 100% defensive concentration. We came back in the second half, but they were intelligent as well.

“We had the chances in the second half but we couldn’t take them. If you’re not focused for 90 minutes then you will suffer.”

The Frenchman also admitted his frustration at being unable to tie up qualification to the next round.

“It is a missed opportunity of course. If we get away with a draw we are there,” he said.

The Donbass Arena was left in stunned silence as Walcott’s breakaway and slick finish put Arsenal ahead on 10 minutes.

There was then an amazing let-off for Arsenal on 16 minutes. Jadson’s snapshot smashed into Johan Djourou, with the Brazilian midfielder then eventually turning the loose ball against the post. From the resulting corner, Lukasz Fabianski made a brilliant reaction save to deny Chygrynskiy.

Shakhtar equalised when Eastmond deflected Chygrynskiy’s header into his own net on 29 minutes, before Eduardo swept the ball home from six yards on the stroke of half-time — the Croatian again opting not to celebrate.

Wilshere and Walcott then both spurned second-half chances for Arsenal, while Jadson had a penalty appeal turned down.

However, the hosts were not troubled in the final minutes as they moved level on nine points with Arsenal in the battle for Group H.

SHAKHTAR DONETSK: Pyatov, Srna, Chygrynskiy, Rakitskiy, Rat, Gai (Alex Teixeira 62), Hubschman, Jadson (Douglas Costa 74), Eduardo, Willian , Luiz Adriano (Moreno 88).

ARSENAL: Fabianski, Eboue, Squillaci, Djourou, Clichy, Eastmond (Vela 59), Wilshere, Walcott (Emmanuel-Thomas 82), Rosicky, Nasri, Bendtner (Chamakh 73).

Referee: Massimo Busacca (Switzerland).

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox