FC Schalke 04 kept a priceless clean sheet in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League Round of 32 tie with FC Shakhtar Donetsk in Lviv.
FC Shakhtar Donetsk 0-0 FC Schalke 04
Red card: Kucher (86')
Following an open start, Schalke almost went ahead through Younes Belhanda. The FC Dynamo Kyiv loanee twisted and turned inside the Shakhtar box before getting off a shot that was blocked on the line. The Royal Blues continued to offer the greater attacking threat as Leroy Sane sent a tame header wide and Roman Neustädter headed straight at Shakhtar goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov. That said, Schalke stopper Ralf Fährmann had to be on his guard to keep out a rare effort from Oleksandr Gladkky at the other end.
Further chances fell the way of Schalke trio Sane, Belhanda and Max Meyer early in the second half, before Cameroon international defender Joel Matip had a goal ruled out for a push on a Gladkky. It looked like the dam might break when Belhanda brought a flying save out of Pyatov and Johannes Geis had an indirect free kick blocked on the line, but it was Shakhtar who almost nicked it, with Fährmann pulling off a sensational double stop before Oleksandr Kucher saw red late on.
Man of the match
The lively Belhanda made a mockery of the Shakhtar defence at times and created a couple of scoring chances out of nothing.
Shakhtar: Pyatov - Srna (c), Kucher, Rakytskyy, Ismaily - Malyshev (Kryvtsov 90'), Stepanenko - Marlos (Wellington Nem 74'), Kovalenko, Taison (Eduardo 79') - Gladkyy
Schalke: Fährmann (c) - Junior Caicara, J. Matip, Neustädter, Kolasinac - Geis, Goretzka, Sane (Sam 87'), Meyer (Schöpf 81'), Belhanda (Huntelaar 89') - Choupo-Moting