Related News

Home » Sports » Soccer

Shakhtar's UEFA Cup triumph is made in Brazil

EUROPE'S last UEFA Cup final had Brazil stamped all over it, but it was Shakhtar Donetsk's skillful imports from the South American footballing power celebrating victory over Werder Bremen early today.

All three goals were scored by Brazilians as Shakhtar prevailed 2-1 over the German club in extra time to clinch Ukraine's first European trophy as an independent nation.

Luiz Adriano's and Jadson's goals were offset only by Naldo, the Werder defender nicknamed "The Beast."

"I am very happy for my young Brazilian players because maybe now people will know them and hopefully (national coach) Dunga has seen them," Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu said. "Half of our team was Brazilian and they are all younger than 25, but I trust in them.

"The team is very young and I hope no young players leave this team because we have bigger objectives. We want to do well in the Champions League now."

Luiz Adriano, one of Shakhtar's four-pronged Brazilian attacking unit, opened the scoring after 25 minutes by lifting the ball over goalkeeper Tim Wiese. Samba flair oozed through the Ukrainian champions, but they lacked brawn.

That was provided by Naldo in the Werder defense, which proved to be a muscular and stubborn barrier to his opposing countrymen.

The Beast supplied the equalizer 10 minutes after Adriano's goal, unleashing a free kick that Shakhtar goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov pushed into his own goal.

Little was getting past Naldo until his own goalkeeper's own flap, with Jadson shooting through the arms of Wiese in the seventh minute of extra time. At the final whistle, Naldo was in tears on the pitch as his compatriots in orange shirts - who also included Fernandinho, Ilsinho and Willian - celebrated.

The victory was a vindication of Lucescu's policy of luring Brazilian youngsters to add flair to his emerging side. All five started in a team featuring just three Ukrainians for the biggest game at the club since Ukraine gained independence in 1991 with the breakup of the Soviet Union.

"My philosophy is to build a team, to educate players and to try and bring up young players - this is much bigger than all the trophies I can win personally," Lucescu said.

Brazil President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was meant to break off from his state visit to Turkey to watch in Sukru Saracoglu Stadium, but was not seen in the stands.

The victory would have been bittersweet for Lula since he had appealed to FIFA president Sepp Blatter this year to stop the exodus of Brazilian players to Europe as it affected the quality of the domestic leagues.

Back in Brazil, the match was eagerly anticipated in the local media and was shown live on television. While next week's Champions League final between Barcelona and Manchester United is a more illustrious match, Europe's No. 2 competition had the greater home interest.

It was a different picture in Europe and the stadium as the UEFA Cup bowed out with a whimper after 38 years, before another rebranding as the Europa League to revitalize its appeal.

There were swathes of empty seats as the finalists struggled to sell their allocation and tickets couldn't even be given away to Turkish football fans.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend