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Thursday, September 30, 2004 

Barcelona 3 - 0 Shakhtar (CL)



FC Barcelona laid on a thrilling night of creative football to defeat FC Shakhtar Donetsk 3-0 in UEFA Champions League Group F thanks to goals from Deco, Ronaldinho and Samuel Eto'o.

Second-half penalty
Only the brilliance of Shakhtar's outstanding goalkeeper, Jan Lastuvka, with fine saves to deny Ludovic Giuly, Eto'o and substitute Henrik Larsson, kept the scoreline so low. But after Deco's opener, Ronaldinho's second-half penalty clinched control of the match to leave Shakhtar with no way back.

Testing match
It had shaped up as a testing match for Barça and their coach, Frank Rijkaard, who warned that Shakhtar "know their system so well that they almost play by remote control". The Ukranian side have earned the reputation of being hard-working, confident counterattack specialists.

Early chance
When Ronaldinho could only skewer an early free-kick high over Lastuvka's crossbar it appeared that Rijkaard's other warning, about the need for a massive amount of hard work, was going to prove correct. But the Dutchman's side moved up a gear with silky elegance and played 30 minutes of fine creative football in the first half.

Deadlock broken
Confidence flowed after the opening goal, scored by Portuguese international Deco, his second goal in two Champions League matches for his new club, but it took marvellous skill to create it in the first place. Ronaldinho and Eto'o exchanged passes allowing the Brazilian to cut open the visiting defence with a fine right-footed pass before Deco crashed a rising drive in off the heel of Flavius Stoican.

Flowing football
Shakhtar's fightback started and ended during the first half with a curving free-kick from their captain, Anatoliy Tymoschuk, the effort skimming just past the right-hand post of Víctor Valdés. Tymoschuk was then robbed of the ball in midfield almost allowing Xavi Hernandéz's pass to Giuly to create a second goal.

Brilliant Brazilian
Ronaldinho's marker, Marius Lewandowski, had picked up a 12th-minute booking for three consecutive fouls on the Brazilian and that caution enabled the Barça playmaker to revel in a little extra space. In the 26th minute he received Deco's clever overhead flick, controlled it on his chest and then lofted a 'sand-iron' style chip into the path of Eto'o, who raced through the visitors' defence only for Lastuvka to produce a brave and well-timed diving block.

Wasted opportunity
With what little creative possession the Ukranian champions were enjoying, Zvonomir Vukic, playing at the attacking point of a midfield diamond, gave striker Ciprian Marica a fine chance to score but the young Romanian was fiercely off target with his shot.

Stubborn resistance
In the 52nd minute the visitors' hard work almost brought an equaliser. Vukic's clever pass outside full-back Giovanni van Bronckhorst let Marica send in a perfectly aimed low cross, which Carles Puyol somehow blocked and then stole off the toes of Matuzalem.

Lastuvka bravery
Moments later it was Shakhtar keeper Lastuvka who was at the centre of some panicky moments. First the Ukrainian defied Giuly with a double save only metres from his goal-line – the second block being work of the highest possibly quality and bravery.

Penalty converted
Then Lastuvka totally read Ronaldinho's intention to chip the ball over him, as the Brazilian ran through on goal, but was ruled to have fouled Barça's striker as he attempted to clear. Having missed one penalty at Celtic Park on Matchday 1, Ronaldinho made no mistake this time. The third goal was the icing on the cake, Andrés Iniesta taking Larsson's pass, fooling the visitors' defence and leaving the goal gaping for Eto'o to score.

Goals: 15' Deco ; 64'(pen) Ronaldinho ; 89' Eto'o

Source: Uefa.com

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