Shakhtar beat Hoffenheim 3-2 in UEFA Champions League

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Berlin, Nov 28 (IANS) A last-gasp goal from Taison helped Shakhtar Donetsk defeat resilient 10-men Hoffenheim 3-2 in Champions League Group F, keeping alive the Ukrainian side’s hopes of reaching the tournament’s knockout stages.

Hosts Hoffenheim on Tuesday got off to the worst possible start as Ismaily broke the deadlock in the 14th minute following a one-two with Taison, reports Xinhua news agency.

Shakhtar then gained momentum and raced into a 2-0 lead moments later as Junior Moraes’ pass allowed Taison to beat onrushing Hoffenheim goalkeeper Oliver Baumann with a strike into the far corner.

However, Hoffenheim hit back almost immediately, as Andrej Kramaric capitalized on a through ball from Ishak Belfodil to chip Shakhtar keeper Andriy Pyatov in the 17th minute.

Buoyed by their goal, the German side equalized before the break as Shakhtar failed to clear the ball following a corner, allowing Steven Zuber to head home from inside the box.

Into the second half, and Hoffenheim suffered a setback as Adam Szalai received his marching orders after committing his second bookable offence in the 59th minute.

Even though the German side had a numerical disadvantage they still created chances, as Steven Zuber rattled the crossbar on 70 minutes before Nico Schulz missed an open goal from inside the box nine minutes later.

The visitors nevertheless remained dangerous and hit the woodwork in the 83rd minute when Taison unleashed an effort from 12 meters.

The Brazilian remained in the thick of things and scored the winner from close range following good build-up work from Ismaily in the dying seconds.

The result sees Hoffenheim crash out of the Champions League group stage after slumping to fourth place with three points from five games.

Shakhtar’s win sees them move up to third place with five points, meaning the Ukrainian side still has a chance to progress to the knockout stage if they can win their final group match at home to Lyon.

–IANS

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