Three months after the high of winning the UEFA Cup, FC Shakhtar Donetsk came crashing back to earth with a bump as they exited the UEFA Champions League on away goals following a 0-0 draw at FC Timişoara.
After a tense 90 minutes, the Dan Paltinisanu Stadium erupted in celebration at a famous triumph for Timişoara, who had gone 16 years without appearing in UEFA club competition before featuring in last term's UEFA Cup and have still not actually won a match in Europe since 1990. That will not matter to coach Ovidiu Ioan Sabau and his men who can now look forward to Friday's play-off draw, while Shakhtar turn their thoughts to UEFA Europa League qualifying.
Following the 2-2 first-leg draw in Donetsk, there was excited anticipation in the stands but a measure of caution out on the pitch where Timişoara, aware that a stalemate would suffice, were clearly wary of the threat of Shakhtar's Brazilian contingent. Two of this number, Ilsinho and Luiz Adriano, had a sight of goal in the first half but failed to take advantage. At the other end, Timişoara forward Gheorghe Bucur showed impressive skill to break into promising positions either side of half-time but on each occasion he chose the wrong option and earned nothing more than a corner-kick.
As the clock ticked down, openings began to appear and Mircea Lucescu's visitors almost broke through. Timişoara goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon blocked a Dmytro Chygrynskiy header after 78 minutes and 60 seconds later Ilsinho shot narrowly wide. With nerves jangling, Pantilimon then kept out a free-kick by Darijo Srna although Winston Parks could have made absolutely sure for the home side only to be foiled by Andriy Pyatov when clean through on goal.
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