UEFA Cup Final – Shakhtar Seize The Day!
This was the last edition of the UEFA Cup, before the competition changes its format to be called as the Europa League. Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine, and Werder Bremen from Germany were the survivors of a long and arduous campaign that was all about walking onto the pitch in Istanbul.
The match began with all the pomp and show that goes with a Cup final, and the nominated hosts immediately got off to a good start. Luiz Adriano could have capitalised on the blistering start, but he failed to make it count, as he went for power and fired wide with only the keeper left between him and the goal.
However, it was not long before the player made amends for his earlier miss. With twenty-five minutes gone, he managed to chip the ball over the keeper and send the fans into a tizzy. But the Hirnyky lost the lead ten minutes later, when Pyatov made a mess of a Naldo free kick, which ended up in the back of the net.
The game went into a deadlock from here on, as neither side created enough to deserve a goal, perhaps owing to a possible counter-attack from their opponents, should they have thrust more bodies forward.
Extra time was needed to settle the final, and Jadson turned out to be the hero of the day. Owing to an assist from Srna, the player managed to get his name into the history books from close range. Werder tried hard to get back into the game, but the Shakhtar defences held strong. As the referee blew the whistle on the proceedings, the Ukrainians became the first team in the history of their country to lift this prestigious trophy, and ironically the last team that would ever win this coveted competition.
Shakhtar Donetsk 2-1 Werder Bremen
Luiz Adriano 25 (S), Naldo 35 (W), Jadson 7 ET (S)