A decade later, Celta Vigo are again in the phase to eliminate the Europa League, and start the tie in Balaídos. On the other side is the formation of Paulo Fonseca, who many consider one of the favorites to win the event. Shakhtar Donetsk won their group with a full six wins and was one of the most enjoyable teams to watch. But facing a Spanish formation is always a tricky challenge and the Ukrainians have been limited to friendly games for two months because of the winter stoppage in the domestic league.
The last month has been a kind of roller coaster for the Celta de Vigo. After surprising everything and everyone by eliminating Real Madrid in the quarterfinals of the King’s Cup – triumph at the Santiago Bernabeu (1-2) and home draw (2-2) – Eduardo Berizzo’s pupils were amazed at the sock (0-0, 1-0) and are out of the final. Meanwhile there was the storm that damaged the coverage of the Municipal Stadium of Balaídos, which forced the postponement of the game with the Merengues and works to restore the security of the facilities. On Sunday Celta visited Vicente Calderón and was almost to bring a point from Madrid (3-2). But the reaction of the Colchoneros, who lost by two to one in the middle of the second half, prevented this outcome. Fernando Torres, Ferreira-Carrasco and Griezmann beat the efforts of Gustavo Cabral and John Guidetti. And now the Galician team have to turn their attention to the European competition.
For ten years Celta Vigo was not present in the later phase of the Europa League and wants to make the most of the moment. Unfortunately for the Galicians, the draw meant that they had to pass one of the strongest candidates to win the competition to go beyond the sixteenth. The good news is that Berizzo has the roster free of injuries and can present this Thursday his best eleven.
Probable team: Sergio Álvarez – Mallo, Cabral, Roncaglia, Jonny Castro – Jozabed, Radoja, Pablo Hernández – Quotes, Guidetti, Sisto.
The Shakhtar Donetsk is a few weeks ago based in Braga, where he organized some friendly games to prepare for the visit to Vigo. Eight days ago the European League formation Paulo Fonseca beat Rio Ave (0-3) with goals from Blanco, Taison and Boryachuk. The first was the work of the last reinforcement of the Ukrainian team, twenty-five-year-old Argentine striker Gustavo Blanco, who was already playing in the Ukrainian League, serving Karpaty. To overcome the fact that he is out of competition for two months, due to the winter break that the Ukrainian champions suffer, is the biggest challenge of the Portuguese coach and his assistants.
For many, Shakhtar Donetsk is one of the great favorites to reach the final of this edition of the Europa League and even to the trophy. Under the command of Fonseca the Ukrainian club made a perfect campaign in the group stage, counting by victories the games played in that phase, during which it scored twenty-one goals. They beat Group H more than double the points of second-placed Gent. And in the domestic league is isolated in the first place, with twelve points advantage over all competition.
Paulo Fonseca knows that the second meeting of the tie at home plays for Shakhtar. But he also knows that the very competitive Spanish teams represent a tricky challenge for a group that has been without competition for a long time.
Stepanenko gets out of hand due to punishment.
Probable team: Pyatov – Srna, Ordets, Rakitiskiy, Ismaily – Marlos, Fred, Malyshev, Bernard – Taison, Boryachuk