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The lowdown on Manchester City’s Champions League opponents Shakhtar Donetsk

We look at what lies ahead in the Group C encounter.

Manchester City and Shakhtar Donetsk meet again on Tuesday (Martin Rickett/PA)
Manchester City and Shakhtar Donetsk meet again on Tuesday (Martin Rickett/PA)

By Andy Hampson, PA

Manchester City host Shakhtar Donetsk hoping to secure their place in the Champions League knockout stages on Tuesday.

Here, the PA news agency looks at what lies ahead in the Group C encounter.

Both sides can progress

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Champions League Group C table (UEFA.com)

City need only a draw to ensure qualification for the last 16 and they can secure top spot in the group with a victory. A draw would even be good enough for first place if Dinamo Zagreb do not beat Atalanta in the other group game. Shakhtar, however, will have plenty of incentive to force a result themselves. The Ukrainians can go through if they beat City and Dinamo lose to Atalanta.

Old rivals

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Gabriel Jesus scored a hat-trick when City thrashed Shakhtar 6-0 last season (Martin Rickett/PA)

City and Shakhtar are now familiar foes having been drawn together in three-successive Champions League campaigns. This is their sixth meeting since September 2017 and City have won four of the previous five, including a 6-0 success at the Etihad Stadium last season and a 3-0 victory in Kharkiv earlier in this campaign.

Masters of the comeback

Shakhtar, who are second in the group with five points and level with third-placed Dinamo, have produced stirring fightbacks in both their away matches in this season’s competition. Against Atalanta they came from behind to win 2-1 with Manor Solomon scoring the clincher five minutes into added time. They were in deeper trouble in Zagreb, trailing 3-1 after 90 minutes, but a Junior Moraes strike and Tete penalty in injury time saw them snatch a 3-3 draw.

Serial winners

Shakhtar are Champions League regulars having won the Ukrainian title 12 times in the past 18 seasons. They have reached the last 16 in four of their last eight appearances. Despite not playing in their home since the outbreak of war in 2014, Kharkiv-based Shakhtar are currently Ukraine’s foremost club after winning league and cup doubles in the last three seasons. New coach Luis Castro, who took over from now Roma boss Paulo Fonseca in the summer, has maintained their eminence and they are already 13 points clear at the top of the Ukraine Premier League after 15 games this term. They arrive in Manchester after a 4-1 defeat of Lviv at the weekend.

Brazilian stars

All of Shakhtar’s successes in the modern era have been based around a core of Brazilian players. Current City player Fernandinho rose to prominence there during an eight-year spell before joining City in 2013. Manchester United’s Fred, Chelsea’s Willian and Everton’s Bernard all played there earlier in their careers. Shakhtar’s current squad boasts 11 Brazilians, two of whom have now become Ukraine internationals in Marlos and Moraes. Moraes is a man City will need to watch having scored 14 goals in 14 league appearances this season, and two more from four in the Champions League. Marlos, however, is suspended for this one.

PA

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