The 2019/20 UEFA Europe League season came to an end for VfL Wolfsburg on Wednesday after three late goals from Shakhtar gave the hosts a 3-0 triumph on the night, and a 5-1 aggregate victory overall.
Start for Tisserand
With VfL needing to score at least two goals to progress to the quarter-finals, Oliver Glasner fielded both Wout Weghorst and Daniel Ginczek up front from the off in an attack-minded line-up. Elsewhere, Marcel Tisserand began at right-back, with Kevin Mbabu unavailable following his positive coronavirus test, and with William still recovering from injury.
Casteels to the fore
Both teams began at a frenetic pace, eager to lay down an early marker and set the tone for the rest of the game. The Wolves had the first shot in the eighth minute when Jerome Roussillon connected with Joao Victor’s cross from the right, but it was blocked for a corner. The hosts grew into the match after that, and Alan Patrick and Mykola Matviyenko were both left frustrated after Koen Casteels denied their goal-bound efforts, before Marlos struck the base of the post.
At the other end of the pitch, Joao Victor’s jinking run set up a chance for Ginczek with a teasing ball across the face of goal, but the striker was just unable to make contact at the near post. John Brooks then headed over from a Maximilian Arnold free-kick, leaving the game goalless and delicately poised at the interval.
No way through
Casteels was called into action again early in the second half, producing a fine block when one-on-one with Junior Moraes, before saving long-range efforts from Taison and Marlos. Taison curled a shot just wide of the post as Shakhtar looked to cement their first-leg advantage, but the Wolves weathered the early storm and had a couple of promising opportunities of their own, with Weghorst seeing his shot blocked and Arnold’s thundering free-kick well saved by home goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov.
The match continued to ebb and flow, but momentum swung in the Wolves’ favour when David Khocholava was sent off following a VAR review for a foul on Joao Victor. However, VfL were also reduced to ten men a couple of minutes later when Brooks was shown a second yellow card. Glasner’s charges continued to push forward with a place in the quarter-finals on the line, but Shakhtar exploited the inevitable gaps in defence late on, with Junior Moraes scoring a brace and Solomon getting another, producing a final score that was somewhat harsh on VfL.
Shakhtar Donetsk: Pyatov – Dodo, Kryvtsov, Khocholava, Matviyenko – Antonio (Kovalenko 74’), Stepanenko – Marlos (Solomon 77’), Alan Patrick, Taison (Konoplyanka 86’) – Junior Moraes
VfL Wolfsburg: Casteels – Tisserand, Pongracic, Brooks, Roussillon (Klaus 83’) – Joao Victor, Schlager, Arnold, Brekalo (Guilavogui 76’) – Ginczek (Marmoush 62’), Weghorst
Goals: 1-0 Junior Moraes (89’), 2-0 Solomon (90+1’), 3-0 Junior Moraes (90+3’)
Yellow cards: Kryvtsov / Brooks, Schlager, Arnold
Red cards: Khocholava (68’) / Brooks (71’)
Referee: Ivan Kruzliak (Slovakia)
Oliver Glasner about the match