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Friday, May 22, 2009

Shakhtar beats Werder to claim last-ever UEFA Cup

ISTANBUL (AP) Shakhtar Donetsk won the last UEFA Cup final when midfielder Jadson scored in extra time to beat Werder Bremen 2-1 on Wednesday.

News photo
Glorious victory: Shakhtar Donetsk's Darijo Srna holds the UEFA Cup following his side's 2-1 victory over Werder Bremen in the final on Wednesday night. AP PHOTO

The teams drew 1-1 through regular time at Sukru Saracoglu Stadium before Jadson, one of five Brazilian players in Shakhtar's lineup, hit home from about 12 meters in the 97th minute.

Goalkeeper Tim Wiese got to the ball but let it slip over his own line for Shakhtar to become the first Ukrainian team to win the UEFA Cup.

Shakhtar, which took the lead in the 25th minute through Luiz Adriano before Naldo equalized 10 minutes later, was also the last winner of Europe's second-tier club competition before it is reshaped and renamed the Europa League next season.

"It is bigger because it is the last and maybe we can keep the trophy," Shakhtar coach Mirea Lucescu said. "We don't have to make a copy of it.

"We have bigger aims. We now want to do things in the Champions League: Reach the quarterfinals, maybe the semifinals."

Even without the historic context, the game was notable for its three goals — all scored by Brazilians and all from mistakes.

Bremen defender Sebastian Proedl, starting only because of an injury to Germany international Per Mertesacker, failed to cut out a simple pass by Shakhtar defender Razvan Rat. The ball ran to Luiz Adriano, who cut inside and lifted a shot over Wiese.

Shakhtar, which was the better side throughout, created more openings during the next 10 minutes and goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov had little to do until Fernandinho fouled Markus Rosenberg and Naldo hit a free kick over the wall.

The shot was firmly struck almost right at Pyatov and he got both hands to it, but inexplicably deflected the ball into his own net.

But those errors did not detract from the entertaining play of the Brazil-inspired Shakhtar.

With attacking midfielders Willian, Jadson and Ilsinho in support of lone striker Adriano, the Ukrainian team shrugged off its reputation for occasionally turgid play to frequently baffle the Bremen defense.

Only the resistance of Naldo, yet another Brazilian at the heart of Bremen's back line, seemed to deny Shakhtar a more convincing victory.

"We knew they were very fast and we knew we had to deny them space but it didn't really work out," Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf said. "We ceded time to our opponent and gave our opponent time to prepare its attacks."

Bremen seemed to be badly missing Diego, its Brazilian playmaker, suspended after a yellow card in the semifinal win over Hamburg.

"We weren't able to attack as much as we usually are able to do," Schaaf said. "Our ball control wasn't good enough."



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