Mark Temnycky –
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Maccabi Tel Aviv – Thursday, 25 February 2021 – 17:55 GMT/18:55 CEST – Olimpiyskiy Stadium, Kyiv, Ukraine
The second leg of the 2020/21 UEFA Europa League’s Round of 32 will commence on Thursday, 25 February. Shakhtar Donetsk will host Maccabi Tel Aviv in Kyiv.
Shakhtar Donetsk took control of the tie last week, where the Ukrainians defeated the Israelis 2-0. Throughout the match, the Miners dominated possession, passes completed, number of successful passes, and shots on goal. Their determination paid off, and they were rewarded for their hard work by scoring two important away goals, courtesy of Alan Patrick and Tetê.
During the match, Shakhtar goalkeeper Anatoliy Trubin went mostly untroubled, where he only had to make three saves throughout the entire match. The scoreline, and their clean sheet in particular, means Shakhtar are in a good position to advance to the next stage of the Europa League. Nothing is ever certain, but the fate of this tie is in Shakhtar’s hands.
Most important for the Miners is their home record. Shakhtar have only lost one of their 10 home games this season, winning six and drawing the remaining three. The loss came against then-UEFA Champions League opponent Borussia Mönchengladbach, although Shakhtar defeated Real Madrid at home and drew Internazionale. While anything is possible in football, these past results dictate that Shakhtar should be prepared for this home game against Maccabi.
Meanwhile, Maccabi Tel Aviv will look to turn this tie around after losing the first leg. The Israelis will be kicking themselves for conceding a second goal deep into stoppage time, where a 1-0 loss would have been more manageable. Nevertheless, they find themselves two goals down and they will need to enter this second leg with a strong start.
Maccabi struggled to muster together a meaningful attack in the first leg against Shakhtar. While they did trouble the Ukrainians on a few occasions, Shakhtar dominated the match, and Maccabi were forced to defend throughout most of the game. This prevented them from having many attempts on goal, and this ultimately hurt them in the first leg.
The Israelis have not given up, and they will enter this game with everything they have. An early goal could make the match interesting, as this would put Maccabi back into the tie. If they have a lackluster start, however, they will surely be eliminated from this season’s competition.
Who will advance to the UEFA Europa League’s Round of 16 this season?
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Maccabi Tel Aviv – Players to Watch:
Anatoliy Trubin #81 – Shakhtar Donetsk
Anatoliy Trubin has impressed in the Shakhtar goal ever since he won the starting position over veteran Andriy Pyatov. The young Ukrainian earned clean sheets in three of Shakhtar’s six Champions League matches, coming against Real Madrid and Internazionale. Most recently, Trubin kept a clean sheet in the first leg against Maccabi Tel Aviv. His composure in goal should see his side advance to the Europa League’s Round of 16.
Aleksandar Pešić #72 – Maccabi Tel Aviv
Having gone down 2-0 on away goals in the first leg of this tie, Maccabi Tel Aviv will desperately need goals if they look to come back in the second leg. The Israeli club will turn to Serbian Aleksandar Pešić in their time of need. The forward has scored nine goals in 22 matches in all competitions this season, and he is one of Maccabi’s more prolific players. Can he help his club turn the tide in the second leg of this Europa League tie?
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Maccabi Tel Aviv – Match Statistics:
- Shakhtar Donetsk currently lead Maccabi Tel Aviv on away goals after winning last week’s match 2-0.
- Shakhtar Donetsk’s Maksym Malyshev and Dentinho are injured and will not feature in this match.
- Maccabi Tel Aviv are without the injured Uros Nikolic, Yonatan Cohen, Eden Karzev, and Eyal Golasa.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Shakhtar Donetsk vs Maccabi Tel Aviv – 2-1
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Maccabi Tel Aviv – Possible Lineups:
Trubin – Dodô, Kryvtsov, Vitão, Matviyenko – Marlos, Stepanenko, Patrick – Taison, Moraes, Solomon
Manager: Luís Castro
Maccabi Tel Aviv
Tenenbaum – Kandil, Hernández, Tibi, Saborit – Glazer, Rikan, Peretz – Hozez, Pešić, Haim
Manager: Patrick van Leeuwen
Mark Temnycky is an AIPS accredited journalist who covers the Ukrainian men’s national team and Ukrainian clubs competing in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League for the Futbolgrad Network. Follow him @MTemnycky