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Shakhtar beats Rapid Vienna to qualify for group stage

By The Associated Press | Posted - Aug. 25, 2015 at 3:20 p.m.



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LVIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's Shakhtar Donetsk overcame a rocky start to qualify for the Champions League group stage Tuesday, drawing 2-2 with Austrian side Rapid Vienna for a 3-2 aggregate win.

Shakhtar, which is playing its European home games in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv for the second season running due to conflict, struggled to assert any dominance against a team which had not qualified for the group stage for a decade.

Marlos scored the only goal of the first leg for Shakhtar against Rapid last week and the Brazilian was on target again in the 10th minute Tuesday with a curling shot.

His opener was canceled out almost immediately by Louis Schaub's 13th-minute header for Rapid, before the Viennese club then took the lead nine minutes later through Steffen Hofmann's free-kick.

That goal briefly put Rapid in line to progress on away goals, but Shakhtar responded in the 27th minute when Oleksandr Hladkiy finished off a direct passing move. That capped a frenetic start to the game, which largely settled down until a busy end to the match.

Rapid was reduced to 10 men on 88 minutes when defender Mario Sonnleitner fouled Shakhtar goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov as he cleared the ball, earning a second yellow card.

Despite being a man down, Rapid then had two good chances to win the match. First Robert Beric headed wide from close range on a counter-attack, before Philipp Prosenik's shot hit the post deep into added time.

Shakhtar will now contest the group stage for the ninth time in 10 seasons. There will be two teams from Ukraine in the group stage, the other being league champion Dynamo Kiev.

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The Associated Press

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