Shakhtar Donetsk

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Champions League Weds. preview: Two spots remain

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Only two spots remain in the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds, and those will be settled Wednesday afternoon.

In Group C, hosts Shakhtar Donetsk need to beat Atalanta to go through, while the visitors can also go through with a win if Dinamo Zagreb fails to defeat Man City.

[ MORE: Ancelotti reportedly speaking w/ Everton ]

In Group D, Atletico Madrid is through with a win over Lokomotiv Moscow, though Bayer Leverkusen can complete a remarkable comeback from an 0-3 start to the group stage if they beat already-qualified Juve and Atleti loses to their Russian visitors.

You certainly wouldn’t be against Diego Simeone there, though.

“Tomorrow is a great opportunity, every day that you wear the Atletico shirt is,” Simeone said, via Marca. “I believe in my team, in the humility that they have at the moment. The results will come based on what they are demonstrating on the field.”

Premier League sides Man City and Tottenham Hotspur both have their fortunes settled, with City having won Group C and Spurs settled into Group B’s second spot, but they still have plenty to figure out on Tuesday.

Jose Mourinho’s Spurs are going up against a Bayern team that walloped them at home, while City is living an unusual 2W-3D-2L lull in form.

Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League action

12:55 p.m. ET
Shakhtar Donetsk v. Atalanta
Dinamo Zagreb v. Man City

3 p.m. ET
Club Brugge v. Real Madrid
Atletico Madrid v. Lokomotiv Moscow
Bayer Leverkusen v. Juventus
Paris Saint-Germain v. Galatasaray
Olympiacos v. Red Star Belgrade
Bayern Munich v. Tottenham Hotspur

Man City draws Shakhtar, wins Group C

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Manchester City wasn’t at its best in a 1-1 draw with Shakhtar Donetsk in UEFA Champions League play at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday,

Ilkay Gundogan scored for the hosts, but Manor Solomon found the leveler late.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

City still claimed Group C thanks to Atalanta’s defeat of Dinamo Zagreb.

Three things we learned

1. Gabriel Jesus calms no-Aguero nerves: The Brazilian’s work on City’s opener was magnificent, and Jesus was good for most of the game. Taking a surgical through ball from Kevin De Bruyne, Jesus worked one man and held off another to lay-off for Gundogan. The German finished well for 1-0.

2. Center back Fernandinho part of what’s missing in midfield: Look, Rodri is going to be an excellent long-term replacement for Fernandinho and was very, very good on Tuesday. He’s also already an important part of the set-up, but Guardiola really needs to consider putting Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones together at center back in order to put his old faithful midfielder back into his prime role and give a not 100 percent fit Rodri some time to heal. It’s a double bonus situation.

3. Dodo (Remember the name): With all due respect to Shakhtar Donetsk, their newly-turned 21-year-old Brazilian is heading for a contender soon and he’s got a chance to become a regular for the loaded national team as well. An integral part of the Shakhtar goal with his dribble and assist, he had three dribbles, two tackles, and an aerial won.

Man of the Match: Gabriel Jesus.

There were few early signs of worry for the favored hosts, but a wild miscue from an adventuring Ederson led Tete on goal. Fernandinho slid to get a piece of the goal-bound shot and ultimately the only punishment was an unsuccessful corner.

A similar chance occurred moments later, but this time Ederson slid to beat Tete and made contact with the ball.

All-in-all, though, City was in control though clearly not at its best.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

City’s breakthrough came as the clock hit 56, with Gabriel Jesus doing a boatload of physical labor to set up Gundogan after an incisive Kevin De Bruyne pass.

It was 1-1 within a quarter hour, as Dodo drove the right and slipped a pass through the 18 that was somehow able to reach Israeli forward Solomon for the tie.

David Silva had a shot cleared off the line within a minute of restart, and City will be smiling despite its inability to find a winner; The Premier League champions have a seeded spot for the knockout rounds.

Brazilian player Taison banned in Ukraine for response to racism

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KYIV, Ukraine — Brazilian player Taison has been banned for one game for his reaction to racist abuse in a Ukrainian league game.

The Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder showed his middle finger to Dynamo Kyiv fans who had abused him with monkey chants and kicked the ball into the stands during a game Nov. 10. Taison was shown a red card.

[ MORE: Mou says Spurs can win the PL next season ]

The Ukrainian Football Association ordered Taison to serve a one-game ban plus a suspended two-game ban.

Dynamo has been fined 500,000 hryvnyas ($20,000) and ordered to play one game behind closed doors. Another one-game sanction is suspended.

World players’ union FIFPro says “sanctioning a victim of racial abuse is beyond comprehension and it plays into the hands of those who promote this kind of disgraceful behavior.”

VIDEO: Taison sent off for reacting to racist abuse in Ukraine

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Shakhtar Donetsk’s star midfielder, Taison, was sent off in a Ukrainian league game for reacting to racist abuse which he and teammate, fellow Brazilian Dentinho, received from the visiting Dynamo Kyiv fans.

[ MORE: This is now Liverpool’s Premier League title to lose ]

With Shakhtar leading Dynamo 1-0 in the 74th minute, Taison reacted with a middle finger high in the air before booting the ball into the stands.

Dentinho had first reported racist insults to the referee earlier in the game, at which point an announcement was made inside the stadium. After further racist abuse Taison’s reaction, the referee halted the game and took the players off the field for five minutes, as directed by UEFA’s three-step protocol for racist abuse inside stadiums. The third step would have been to abandon the game.

Taison was still sent off when the players took too the field once again. The 31-year-old left the field in tears after having been abused for much of the game. Taison was then seen being consoled by a pair of Dynamo players as he walked off the field.

[ MORE: Guardiola: “Ask the referees, don’t ask me” about handball non-call ]

Roma hire Paulo Fonseca from Shakhtar Donetsk

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ROME (AP) Roma has hired Paulo Fonseca as coach from Shakhtar Donetsk to try leading the club back into the Champions League.

Roma says the Portuguese coach signed a two-year contract, with an option for a third year.

[ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule

The club’s American president, Jim Pallotta, says Fonseca has “a winning mentality and a reputation for bold, attacking football that will excite our fans.”

Roma placed sixth in Serie A after Eusebio Di Francesco was fired in March and Claudio Ranieri took over as interim coach.

Fonseca led Shakhtar to three straight league and cup doubles in Ukraine and leaves behind a spot in the group stage of the Champions League.

Roma starts in the Europa League qualifying rounds on July 25.

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