FC Shakhtar Donetsk president Rinat Akhmetov has set sights on the UEFA Champions League knockout stages after his side regained the Ukrainian Premier League title, a 1-0 victory against arch-rivals FC Dynamo Kyiv giving the Pitmen an unassailable six-point lead with one match to play.
"We have finished first in what is a very strong competition," said Akhmetov, "but this will not be our last win. Our next target is to perform well in the UEFA Champions League: we want to make the knockout stages."
On this showing they have every chance. Seven points adrift of Dynamo at one stage this season, a run of 14 victories in 15 league outings hoisted them to the summit and 50,000 turned out at the Donbass Arena to watch win No15 as Mircea Lucescu's men triumphed 1-0. Ilsinho struck the only goal on 15 minutes, but the faithful were made to wait for confirmation of their side's fifth title since independence. "That was a nervous game as the stakes were so high," said captain Darijo Srna. "Ilsinho hit the bar, Jadson missed a penalty ... but the main thing is that we won."
Lucescu added: "We fulfilled our game plan. Dynamo played very aggressively, though they still only created one goalscoring opportunity as we did not allow them to create more. My lads were better fighting for the ball and controlling the game.
We proved Shakhtar are the better side, and that we have the best fans in Ukraine. They never allow us to play below par."