UEFA Youth League
Manchester United 1 Shakhtar Donetsk 1
United’s UEFA Youth League adventure came to an end in Leigh when their must-win game against Shakhtar Donetsk ended in a draw. United will look back to the game in Donetsk earlier in the campaign where a failure to hold out there ultimately led to the need to win here against well-organised and physically imposing opponents.
The first half was mostly a story of United attacking but failing to create much inside the Shakhtar area, while the away team looked to play on the break. The best chances were a shot from Goss that was blocked by Matviyenko and a mix-up in the opposition defence that almost fell to Wilson, who unfortunately slipped at the vital moment. Wilson didn’t find himself on the ball as much as United would have liked, but he looked menacing whenever he had the chance and, shortly before half-time, he came in from the left, leaving the Ukrainian defence for dead and fizzed a shot across the goal . At the other end, Gollini was thankfully awake earlier in the half when a clever Shakhtar free kick almost resulted in a shot on goal: the United keeper did well to come off his line and thwart him.
Wilson did brilliantly to block and take the ball into the area five minutes after half-time and the challenge that brought him down might well have resulted in a penalty, but the Icelandic referee waved play on. While United offered some penetration during the second half, with Janko a constantly impressive figure down the right, the best the Reds offered was a shot from substitute Sam Byrne fifteen minutes from time. Just after that, Shakhtar did what they’d looked capable of doing all night and scored on the break, Zinchenko’s controlled finish ending the deadlock.
Manchester United 0-1 Shakhtar Donetsk
Manchester United 1-1 Shakhtar Donetsk
Of course, being a United team they had to get us on the edge of our seats until the end and an equaliser duly arrived from a tap-in from the prolific Ashley Fletcher, who’d come on as a late substitute. It was never going to be enough, however, and Shakhtar Donetsk take their place alongside Real Sociedad as Group A qualifiers for the last sixteen.
GIFs sourced from Manchester United GIFs