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Paulo Fonseca- Abroad at last

Paulo Fonseca moved abroad for the first time in his career, replacing the legendary Mircea Lucescu!
Started on 14 June 2018 by ML Scouter
Latest Reply on 23 June 2018 by ML Scouter
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On 31 May 2016, Fonseca moved away from Portugal for the first time in his career. He replaced Mircea Lucescu at Shakhtar Donetsk who spent 12 years there, winning the League 8 times, Cup 6 times, Super Cup 7 times and UEFA cup once.
Paulo managed 8 clubs in Portugal but only managed to win the Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira with Porto in 2013 and Taça de Portugal with Braga in 2016.

After the 2015/16 season with Braga, Paulo Fonseca opted for something different, with the knowledge that Lucescu was going to leave Shakhtar after so long, it was his chance to show his ability at one of the biggest clubs in Ukraine!
Paulo Fonseca took charge of a team that lost their star man Alex Teixeira to the Chinese Super League, had finished 2nd to Dynamo Kyiv in the previous season and 3rd in their Champions League Group with just 3 points, though it did feature the likes of PSG and Real Madrid.

The job wasn’t going to be an easy one. Fonseca had work to do.
In the Ukrainian Super Cup on the 16th July 2016 Shakhtar lost on penalties against arch rivals Dynamo Kyiv.

Just 6 days later their league campaign got underway and a 4-1 win against Zirka settled the nerves ready for the Champions League.
On the 26th July they welcomed Young Boys, hoping for a good victory on their way to the CL Play-offs. Bernard and Seleznyov provided the goals in a 2-0 win, which should have been enough against a poor opposition. Another 4-1 in the league prior to the away leg in Switzerland. 0-0 at half-time, Shakhtar were confident they would make it through and be just 2 games away from the group stage of Europe’s top club competition, but a 6-minute brace from Young Boys’ Kubo meant that extra time would have to be played. With the tie 2-2 on aggregate none of the teams wanted to push too hard and concede. Penalties.
Young Boys to take the first penalty- Hoarau scores 1-0

Srna steps up for Shakhtar and smashes it in the bottom corner 1-1

Kubo with his hattrick 2-1

Fred with a huge run up, it’s saved by Mvogo! 2-1

Hadergjonaj follows up and misses the goal completely. It stays 2-1

The Ukrainian centre back Rakitskiy smashes it against the crossbar!!! 2-1

Rochat, cooley into the bottom left corner 3-1

Marlos has to score. And does. 3-2

This could be the final kick of the game, Gajić with the strike to the bottom right corner, Pyatov gets a touch, but it isn’t enough.
Shakhtar eliminated!

No Champions League money meant no new signings. As a result, Paulo Fonseca had to make do with the players already available in the squad or players that were previously loaned out by Lucescu and played little to no role in the Romanians plans.

Fonseca managed to improve the squad despite this. The likes of Dentinho, Facundo Ferreyra and Alan Patrick were all given a more significant role in the squad. Players that had stalled in their development like Bernard, Taison, Marlos and Fred saw their roles expanded. These where now all being linked to the top leagues in Europe.

The second Klasychne derby of the season finished 1-1 in Kharkiv and after that Shakhtar didn’t look back. They won 14 of their next 16 games with 2 draws.
They also won all 6 of their Europa League group games, scoring 21 and conceding 5.

Donbass Arena Damage

In 2014 the Stadium was damaged by bombing and they haven’t played there since, playing in various grounds such as the Lviv stadium for European matches.

In January of 2017, the club signed a deal to move into the 40,000 capacity Metalist Stadium in Kharkiv. Sergei Palkin the General Director said, "The matches we held in Kharkiv have proved that there are many Shakhtar fans in this region, this will enable us to be closer to our fans, and I am convinced that we can make them happy with our spectacular performance and good results."
Although league form continued to be fantastic, it proved decisive in the Europa League Last 32. Shakhtar lead 1-0 from the away fixture in Vigo, a week later Celta Vigo came to Ukraine.
It looked like Shakhtar would hold on to go through until the 90th minute when Guidetti won a penalty against the out rushing Pyatov. Aspas then sent him the wrong way with the penalty, this really hurt the home side who didn’t have the energy in extra time. A corner in the 108th minute was too much for the Shakhtar defence to cope with and Cabral scored the winning goal to send his side through.

A 2-1 home defeat vs Chornomorets was the first defeat of the league season. This would prove undecisive as they won the league on the 6th of May with 4 games remaining.

At the end of the 2016/17 season FC Dnipro and FC Volyn Lutsk where relegated after both clubs had been deducted total a of 30 points for debts they owed to former players and staff.

Dnipro where runners-up in the Europa League just two seasons prior.
17th May 2017

The Ukrainian Cup Final was the last match of importance for Shakhtar’s 2016/17 season as they played Dynamo Kyiv in their new home. The Metalist Stadium.
Route to the final- Last 16 Shakhtar 2 – 1 Oleksandriya

Quarter-finals- Poltava 0-3 Shakhtar.

Win awarded after Poltava refused to play anywhere else.

Semi-finals- Shakhtar 1 – 0 Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk

25,500 people watched on as Shakhtar lifted the trophy for the 11th time and tied with Dynamo, thanks to an unbelievable Marlos strike just 10 minutes from time.

2017/18 season

Paulo Fonseca’s Shakhtar side started the 2017/18 season off in style, as they won 2-0 against Dynamo Kyiv in front of 34,164 supporters. His first Super Cup win in charge.
The Miners suffered their first defeat of the season on matchday 2. Dieumerci Mbokani struck just after half time to silence the home crowd.

They then won their next 6 games in the league before a fantastic start to their Champions League campaign. A surprise 2-1 win at home against Napoli on the 13th of September gave the team some hope in a tough group.

Fonseca had his say. "We knew we would face a side at the highest level. We need to praise our players who showed great quality. We scored a goal and then had a few more opportunities. We also defended very well not allowing the opponents to play through the centre where they are very strong. In the second half Napoli created more problems for us. Our defence sat too deep and they had more opportunities to build their attacks. Napoli had several chances but then we managed to score a second goal, and overall we deserved this win."
On the 22nd of September long time club captain Darijo Srna was suspended until August 2018, after he failed a doping test.

The last game in September was a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Premier League runaway leaders Manchester City who started the game at the top of the Premier League and would stay there for the season with record points.

The next CL game was away to Feyenoord, a 2-1 win in Rotterdam was followed by 2 league draws and a crazy 4-3 win Vs Zorya in the Cup. Zorya led 2-0 before came into the game on the 72nd minute, he sent it to extra time with a 91st minute glancing header, Kovalenko put them ahead on 99’ only for Zorya to get another 7 minutes later. Blanco Leschuk’s deflected strike sent Shakhtar through to the Quarter’s.

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