Four goals from Ukrainian Brazilians and a successful replacement for Koller
In the Europa League quarterfinal match between Shakhtar and Basel, there was no serious struggle. Already in the first 22 minutes, the Ukrainian team hit the opponent's goal twice, and then brought the score to a large one and did not allow themselves to create problems. Thus, Luis Castro's charges reached the Europa League semifinals for the third time in history. The last time the Donetsk team managed to do it in the 2015/16 season, when the future winners of the tournament, the Sevilla footballers, blocked their way to the final.
And this despite the fact that on paper the confrontation between Shakhtar and Basel promised to turn out to be quite intriguing. Both teams were in excellent shape, which was confirmed by their performances in the previous stage of the Europa League playoffs. The Ukrainians easily dealt with the rivals from Wolfsburg, and the Swiss - with the semifinalists of the last Europa League from Eintracht. True, in personal meetings, the Donetsk team were ahead, never inferior to their rivals. The teams sorted out relations three times, and each time the Pitmen took the upper hand. At the same time, the sum of goals scored and conceded was 10: 2.
Shakhtar's Brazilian legionnaires again took over the role of leaders. Especially among them stood out Marlos, who played for the Ukrainian national team, twice scored with assists. Already in the second minute after his filing from a corner, the team's top scorer in the Europa League, Junior Moraes, scored, and 20 minutes later Tyson doubled the lead. Moreover, in both episodes, the Swiss made mistakes. At first, Djordje Nikolic played too recklessly at the exit, and then Fabian Fry prevented his own goalkeeper. The midfielder tried to block the kick, but the ball bounced off his knee straight into the net. Marcos Antonio could have lit his name on the scoreboard, but the ball hit the crossbar after his blow.
In the second half, Shakhtar was much more constructive and in the end of the meeting brought the score to a big one. First, Alan Patrick converted a penalty for a foul on Tyson, and then Dede scored. Marcel Koller's charges were desperate to close the gap, but up to the 92nd minute they could not bother Andriy Pyatov. The prestige goal was scored by Ricky van Wolfsivinkel who came off the bench.
It is worth noting that in the current competition, Castro's wards have not lost in a single match. They made the playoffs as the third-placed team in their Champions League group, after which they won four wins in five games. Only Benfica, Zenit's former rival in the quartet of the main club tournament in Europe, was able to take points away from the Pitmen.
For the first time in 11 years, Inter will try to prevent Shakhtar from reaching the LE final. Throughout the history, the paths of the collectives have crossed only once in the international arena. In 2005, this happened in the third qualifying round of the Champions League. Then in Donetsk the guests took the upper hand (0: 2), and the meeting in Milan ended in a draw (1: 1).
Jimenez's unscored penalty and the achievement of Ocampos
After a four-year hiatus, Sevilla made it to the Europa League semi-finals again. Julen Lopetegui's players continued their way to the sixth trophy of the tournament, having won the hardest victory over Wolverhampton. The British fiercely resisted, but missed at the very end of the meeting and helped the Spaniards extend their unbeaten run to 19 matches. The last time the team was defeated in February, when Celta with Fedor Smolov became their offender.
In the reporting match, as the leader in the number of trophies, Sevilla took the initiative into their own hands and began to siege the gate of Wolverhampton. In the first half, she had more than twice as much possession of the ball (70-30), but at the same time struck only two more hits. Nuno Espirito Santo made a bet on the game with the second number and was almost rewarded for it. During one of the counterattacks, Adam Traore burst into the opponent's penalty area and was knocked down by Diego Carlos. Arbiter Daniele Orsato pointed to the point, but Raul Jimenez could not beat Bono. For the first time, the Mexican missed a penalty in a wolves shirt - each of his previous eight shots hit the target.
By and large, the success of the "wolves" ended there. In the second half, they sat tightly in defense and practically did not think about forays into someone else's half of the field. As a result - a catastrophic difference in the number of shots on goal (1-10) and colossal pressure on the defense and the goalkeeper of Wolverhampton. Sevilla had many chances to score, but neither Youssef An-Nesiri's spectacular pass nor Ever Banegi's free kick were effective. Rui Patricio acted above all praise, and three central defenders helped him.
Wolverhampton's position did not improve after Diogo Jota entered the pitch. One of the top scorers of the team in the current tournament was replaced by Traore, but did not fit into the game. He was remembered only for a couple of unsuccessful attempts to organize a counterattack. Sevilla continued to press and in the end achieved their goal. In the 88th minute, the Andalusians quickly played a corner, Banega performed a cross, and Lucas Ocampos struck his head. The Argentine made his first appearance in the Europa League and scored the 17th goal of the season, setting a personal best.
In the semifinals, Sevilla will face off against Manchester United. The teams rarely faced each other in official matches. In the 2017/18 season, in the first match of the Champions League 1/8 finals, they parted ways, and in the second, the Spaniards won a sensational victory.