Shakhtar Donetsk v Fulham
UEFA Europa League Round of 32 2nd Leg
Donbass Arena – Donetsk, Ukraine
25 February 2010 – 18:00 GMT
EPL side Fulham heads to Ukraine with a 2-1 aggregate lead against defending UEFA Cup champions Shakhtar Donetsk.
Shakhtar Donetsk v Fulham Preview
Fulham won the first leg 2-1 at Craven Cottage but will have a tough test at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk. Shakhtar have not lost at home in the Europa League this season and have a +7 goal difference in three matches. They won Group J with a dominating 4-1-1 record and conceding only three goals. Fulham were second in Group E with a 3-2-1 record and a +2 goal difference. They had one win on the road (at Basel) in the group stage.
Shakhtar had an impressive run last season to win the UEFA Cup and is one of the favorites to win the entire tournament. They are second in the Ukraine Premier League (behind Dynamo Kiev) with only one loss in 17 matches. Brazilians Luiz Adriano (9 goals) and Jadson (6 goals) provide most of the scoring for Shakhtar. Adriano provied the lone goal in the first leg against Fulham.
Fulham are in position for another top half finish in the English Premier League with 37 points through 27 matches. They are led in the attack by Bobby Zamora (8 goals) and Damien Duff (6 goals). The London club is healthy now after several early season injuries but midfielder Clint Dempsey remains unavailable. Since arriving, manager Roy Hodgson has instilled a disciplined style of play that has made Fulham one of the EPL’s stongest defensive sides.
Shakhtar will have the advantage playing at home but Fulham are capable of playing a defensive match. Fulham will play offensive and generally rely on the counterattack to get any chances. If either side is able to get an early goal, it will probably that side that advances to the quarterfinals.
Shakhtar Donetsk v Fulham Prediction
Shakhtar are a strong team and will advance 4-3 on aggregate (3-1 win on Thursday’s match).
Shakhtar Donetsk v Fulham Video Highlights? Video Highlights of the match can be found here
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