Shakhtar Donetsk 2 Hoffenheim 2: Maycon denies Nagelsmann's side

Shakhtar Donetsk twice pegged back Hoffenheim to deny the Bundesliga club victory on their debut in the Champions League group stages.

Shakhtar Donetsk's Maycon celebrates after scoring his team's second goal against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim.   -  Getty Images

Substitute Maycon scored an 81st-minute equaliser as Shakhtar Donetsk rallied to secure a 2-2 draw against Hoffenheim in a see-saw Group F opener.

Havard Nordtveit appeared set to be the unlikely hero as Hoffenheim - making its debut in the Champions League group stages - twice held the lead at the Metalist Stadium.

Julian Nagelsmann's side wasted little time in making an impact on Europe's top club competition, Florian Grillitsch giving it a sixth-minute lead when he delicately lifted Leonardo Bittencourt's throughball over the advancing Andriy Pyatov.

His neat finish was cancelled out before the half-hour mark by Ismaily, who benefited from Nordtveit selling himself early, the Hoffenheim defender unnecessarily sliding in, to cut inside and curl home a low shot with the outside of his left foot beyond Oliver Baumann.

However, Pyatov's decision to come off his line to deal with Andrej Kramaric's corner allowed the former West Ham defender to quickly flip the script, his header finding an unguarded net seven minutes before the break.

Shakhtar struggled to break open Hoffenheim in the second half until Maycon picked his spot from distance just five minutes after his introduction off the bench. The Brazilian was given time and space to get away a fierce left-footed shot from the edge of the penalty area that flashed beyond the reach of goalkeeper Baumann.

The host came close to grabbing a late winner – Marlos seeing a goal-bound effort blocked by Taras Stepanenko, with Shakhtar's loud appeals for handball rejected – but the Bundesliga club just about held firm during a frenetic finish to pick up a point on the road.

READ | Ajax 3 AEK Athens 0: Tagliafico at the double in opening win


What it means: Shakhtar still finding their feet

Paulo Fonseca steered the Ukrainian champion to the knockout stages in 2017-18, where it was knocked out by Roma in the last 16 on away goals. However, the Portuguese will do well to repeat the achievement this term, even though it did show excellent fighting spirit against Hoffenheim.

Yet it should be remembered that Fonseca is playing with a different hand this season, no longer able to call upon departed trio Fred (Manchester United), Bernard (Everton) and Facundo Ferreyra (Benfica).


Pat on the back: Bittencourt pulls the strings

The playmaker has flattered to deceive in his career, never quite making the grade during his time with Borussia Dortmund. Nagelsmann, however, may be the coach to get the best out of him, judging by his performance on Wednesday. Bittencourt created three chances, including his new team's opener.


Boot up the backside: Poor Pyatov picked on

The Ukraine international – who started for his country in recent games against Slovakia and the Czech Republic – played with the consistency of lumpy custard. There was a smart save to deny Adam Szalai making it 2-0 in the first half, but his poor decision gifted Nordtveit a goal and he was also fortunate his failure to hold Kramaric's stinging shot went unpunished early in the second half.


Key Opta stats:

- Shakhtar Donetsk has scored two-plus goals in each of its last seven home Champions League games (18 goals total – 2.6 per game), losing just one of those matches (W5 D1).
- Hoffenheim has never won away from home in any European competition (including qualifiers), and has now conceded 12 goals in five such matches on its travels (D2 L3).
- Hoffenheim midfielder Florian Grillitsch is only the second Austrian to score on his Champions League debut, after Christian Stumpf did so for RapidVienna against Fenerbahce in September 1996.
- 15 of Shakhtar Donetsk's last 17 Champions league goals have been scored by players from South American countries, including 12 from Brazil.
- Aged 31 years and 58 days, Hoffenheim boss Julian Nagelsmann became the youngest ever coach to take charge of a Champions League match, surpassing Viktor Goncharenko's previous record of 31 years and 99 days.

What's next?

Hoffenheim hosts Bundesliga rival Borussia Dortmund – the team it defeated on the final day of last season to claim third place at the expense of its opponent on Saturday, while Shakhtar returns to domestic action against Chornomorets the following day.

  Dugout videos