Strikers Hang Tough In Narrow Defeat To UEFA Champions League Regular

Fort Lauderdale fell by a slim 1-0 margin to Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk
Fort Lauderdale Strikers Staff | Jan 27, 2016

The Fort Lauderdale Strikers were unlucky not to earn a draw against Ukrainian giants FC Shakhtar Donetsk, after conceding a late goal in a hard-fought 1-0 loss at Lockhart Stadium.

The home team played their fourth international opponent this month in preparation for the upcoming NASL season, which kicks off April 2 at Lockhart against Miami FC.

After a positive display against Brazilian Serie A Champions Corinthians in a scoreless draw on Saturday, head coach and general manager Caio Zanardi rotated his squad to give players opportunities against the UEFA Champions League participants.

One player making his first appearance for the Strikers was goalkeeper Diego Restrepo, who staved off Shakhtar’s attacking arsenal for 79 minutes with four quality saves. His good work was undone after an individual mistake, when he failed to maneuver past Marlos inside his own box. The goalkeeper had the ball stolen off his feet and carried into goal by the Shakhtar midfielder for the game’s deciding tally.

From the start, the Ukrainian side was mobile, maintaining a comfortable flow of possession. In the 9th minute, Restrepo was forced into his first save of the night after a driven cross by Shakhtar captain Darijo Srna was headed to the near post. Shakhtar continued to attack, but the Strikers maintained a disciplined defensive shape, with Restrepo keeping the attacks at bay.

In the 18th minute the Strikers were able to get their first sight on goal when midfielder Manny Gonzalez delivered a through ball for forward Jose Angulo, but his attempt narrowly missed Andriy Pyatov’s goal.

At the other end, Restrepo produced a fine save in the 64th minute to deny Srna’s set piece from the edge of the 18-yard box, getting his gloves to the powerful drive to keep the match scoreless.

The Ukrainian powerhouse looked in control for the remainder of the game, but in the 87th minute their defense was tested after consecutive attempts on goal by substitute Maicon Santos. His first effort flashed over, before he tested the goalkeeper with a shot from distance that was tipped wide for a corner kick.

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