Ukrainian 'Pitmen' move seamlessly into last eight

DONETSK, Ukraine, March 8, 2011 (AFP) - Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk made no mistake in ensuring they reached the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time with an impressive 3-0 victory over 10-man AS Roma to win 6-2 on aggregate here on Tuesday.

Goals by Tomas Hubschmann, outstanding Brazilian Willian and Eduardo extended the 2009 UEFA Cup winners' unbeaten home record in European competition to October 2008 when they went down to Sporting Lisbon.

Juan (R) of AS Roma vies for the ball with Luiz Adriano (L) during the football match with FC Shakhtarin in Donetsk on March 8, 2011. Shakhtar won 3:0. AFP

Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu said that he was delighted with the victory but added his side was a work in progress.

"This team is maturing, we have players of 20 and 21-years-old, under contracts for four to five years," said the experienced Romanian, who previously guided Turkish side Galatasaray to the last eight of the competition.

"We won the UEFA Cup, we have created a new benchmark against Roma, what interests me is to take a step forward, we are not thinking of what comes next."

His Roma counterpart Vincenzo Montella - who replaced Claudio Ranieri a fortnight ago - was sorry to have bowed out but saw much to encourage him.

"The guys showed that they have made progress, regardless of the result. They can still do better but there is no need to be demoralised by this result as we are on the right path," added the 36-year-old former Roma and Italy striker.

After suffering a 3-2 home defeat in the first leg, Roma's task was made virtually impossible when they were reduced to 10 men late in the first-half when Philippe Mexes was sent off for a second yellow card.

Czech midfielder Hubschmann took the congratulations of his team (known as the 'Pitmen' as they come from a mining region) in the 18th minute for the goal - his first in 17 months - though it appeared that he had not got a touch to Willian's low cross.

However, Montella will look askance at his defence who allowed such an innocuous goal to give the visitors an even more challenging task in coming back and becoming only the second side since Ajax in the 1995/96 edition to overcome a home loss in the first leg.

Roma, though, wasted a golden opportunity to reduce the deficit just before the half hour mark as English referee Howard Webb awarded them a penalty after Armenian international Henrik Mkhitaryan was penalised for holding back Marco Borriello.

But Roma's leading scorer then produced a dreadful effort which was saved by Andriy Pyatov.

The visitors' chances took another huge blow in the 41st minute when their French central defender Mexes was sent off after being booked for a second time by World Cup final referee Webb when he tugged back Luis Adriano.

However, Webb was found wanting on the stroke of half-time when he booked Shakhtar captain Dario Srna instead of Roma midfielder Daniele di Rossi, who merited a red card for a clear and malicious elbow on Srna and made worse as the referee failed to award a penalty as the offence took place inside the Italians' penalty area.

The energetic Mkhitaryan provided the first action of the second-half as he cut in from the right and unleashed a fierce shot from outside of the box but Roma goalkeeper Doni beat it away.

However, there was little Doni could do in the 58th minute as the 22-year-old Willian produced a finish of the highest class, bringing down a corner from outside the box and curling a half-volley into the top far corner to send the Ukrainian crowd into raptures.

Brazilian-born Croatian international Eduardo, the former Arsenal striker, rounded off a memorable evening for the hosts as he broke free three minutes from time and easily put the ball past Doni.

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