APOEL Nicosia suffered the
first defeat of their Champions League campaign when they went
down 2-0 at home to Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday but they still
ended up celebrating as the result in Porto sent them through as
Group G winners.
APOEL, against all odds and with a round to spare, had
already become the first Cypriot team to reach the knockout
stage but were outplayed by the Ukrainian visitors.
Liuz Adriano put Shakhtar ahead from close range after 62
minutes while substitute Yevhen Seleznyov got the second after
78, tucking in after a shot by Fernandinho rebounded off
goalkeeper Urko Pardo.
The home side were without leading duo Ailton and Pinto, out
through injury and struggled to mount any sustained pressure
against the dominant visitors.
The match was briefly interrupted just before the final
whistle when two smoke bombs were tossed onto the pitch.
APOEL finished on nine points, level with Zenit St
Petersburg after their 0-0 draw at Porto but the Cypriots top
the group courtesy of their head-to-head record against Zenit.
Asked whether it was the "sweetest defeat" of his career
APOEL coach Ivan Jovanovic said: "There are no sweet defeats but
after seeing our team among the best 16 in Europe then we can
understand the achievement... we hope to have the same
achievement in the future."
Jovanovich also praised Shakhtar, saying they had played
superbly for their only win of the campaign.
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