Mats Hummels’s late header saw Brorussia Dortmund emerge from Donetsk with the scores level and perhaps crucially with two away goals in the first-leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.
Shakhtar Donetsk were twice ahead through strikes from Darijo Srna and Douglas Costa but could regret letting the leads slip late in each half, first through Robert Lewandowski, before Hummels struck three minutes from the end.
The home side were playing their first competitive match since their last game of the group stage back in early December, but were also defending a phenomenal record at the Donbass Arena this season.
It was Dortmund who came agonizingly close to taking the lead on 17 minutes. From Marco Reus’s corner, defender Mats Hummels rose highest six yards out but his header bounced back off the crossbar.
Just past the half-hour mark, Shakhtar got the game’s opening goal with a fine strike. Croatia international Srna showed again that he is far more than just a right-back as he curled a free-kick over the wall and flying past Roman Weidenfeller in the Dortmund goal.
Mircea Lucescu’s side will have been bitterly disappointed not to go into half time in front. Mario Gotze was given two chances to cross from the right after a poor clearance and when the ball arrived to Lewandowski , he initially missed his kick, but two Shakhtar defenders fell to the ground and the Polish striker made no mistake at the second attempt.
But midway through the second half, Shakhtar were back in front, with a goal that will have caused Lucescu’s opposite number Jurgen Klopp much consternation.
A long hopeful ball forward from Yaroslav Rakitskiy was allowed to bounce in the box for Brazilian Douglas Costa to produce a wonderful finish, as he struck the rising ball with exemplary technique to send it soaring into the net.
Just as Shakhtar were looking set to take a lead to Germany in three weeks’ time, Dortmund were rewarded for their greater possession and twice as many shots on goal. Lewandowski had already missed a very presentable chance before Shakhtar’s defending went missing from a Marcel Schmelzer corner allowing Hummels to stoop and head home from the center of the box.
Sports reporter, mainly focusing on my native sport of soccer, but also dabbling in some tennis and Formula One.