Shakhtar coach keeps his pledge

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Sport -

SHAKHTAR Donetsk ad­vanced to the knock­out stage of the Cham­pi­ons League with a 2-1 vic­tory over Manch­ester City on Wed­nes­day, prompt­ing the Ukrainian club’s coach to at­tend his news con­fer­ence dressed as Zorro.

Paulo Fon­seca ap­peared in a black hat, cape and mask af­ter his team had ended the English club’s un­beaten record in all com­pe­ti­tions this sea­son.

He was ful­fill­ing a prom­ise he’d made to dress up as the fic­tional vig­i­lante if Shakhtar qual­i­fied from a group con­tain­ing favourites City and Napoli.

“This is the most joy­ful press con­fer­ence of my ca­reer,” Fon­seca told re­porters.

“I feel great joy. I think not only Shakhtar’s sup­port­ers but all Ukraini­ans have to be proud of our team. Twelve points in such a group is fan­tas­tic.”

In freez­ing tem­per­a­tures against a Shakhtar team that only needed a draw to be sure of qual­i­fy­ing, City strug­gled to cope with rapid coun­ter­at­tacks by the Ukrainian side’s Brazil­ian for­wards.

De­feat means City, which had al­ready qual­i­fied as Group F win­ner, failed to be­come only the sev­enth club in Cham­pi­ons League his­tory to win ev­ery game in the group stage.

“We lose a game, it’s part of our pro­fes­sion,” City coach Pep Guardi­ola said. “You can­not ex­pect and all the sea­son I’ve said many times, we are not go­ing to win all the games... We are go­ing to lose games, to­day was the first.”

With one eye on Sun­day’s Manch­ester derby, Guardi­ola gave starts to young­sters Phil Fo­den on the left and Tosin Adara­bioyo in the cen­tre of defense.

It was City’s first com­pet­i­tive loss since be­ing beaten by Arse­nal in an FA Cup semi­fi­nal in April. City had been un­beaten in 28 games since then, 22 of them this sea­son.

Feyeno­ord beat third-place Napoli 2-1 in Wed­nes­day’s other game in Group F. – AP

Paulo Fon­seca. Photo: AP

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