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Dirty Tackle

Luiz Adriano cares more about advancing in Champions League than sportsmanship

Brooks Peck
Dirty Tackle

Shakhtar Donetsk's Luiz Adriano proved that he would much rather have the world hate him than risk his side not advancing to the next round of the Champions League when he started off his hat trick against Group E minnows Nordsjaelland in one of the most unsportsmanlike ways possible.

Shortly after Nordsjaelland took a 1-0 lead in the 24th minute, play was halted for an injury to a player for the Danish side in the middle of the pitch. Shakhtar casually played the ensuing drop ball back to the Nordsjaelland goalkeeper, as is usually done for the side in possession when an injury is sustained, but before it could get to him, Adriano took control of it as the confused defenders just watched. Nordsjaelland keeper Jesper Hansen tried to defend against the one-v-one before deciding he shouldn't, giving Adriano a clear shot on the open goal.

The goal counted since it was just an unwritten custom of fairplay that Adriano disregarded, but the home fans and players expressed their displeasure to the Brazilian. Making the situation even stranger, it appeared Shakhtar were prepared to let Nordsjaelland score from the following kick-off to make up for Adriano's action, but after letting Nordsjaelland move forward unimpeded, the Shakhtar defenders suddenly decided against the plan and took the ball off them. A minute later, Nordsjaelland's Kasper Lorentzen would score with no help from Shakhtar to make it 2-1, but that would be the last time the Danes would take a lead. Luiz Adriano went on to score twice more and Shakhtar won 5-2 to go top of the group, ahead of the more heavily favored Juventus and Chelsea.

Though Adriano's first goal ended up being largely irrelevant to the final score, it seems unlikely that he would've gone to such lengths if his side weren't losing at the time. But now Shakhtar and Juventus just need a friendly draw when they meet for their final group match to ensure both clubs advance to the knockout stage and exclude defending champions Chelsea.

UPDATE: Adriano has been charged with "violation of the principles of conduct" by UEFA and Shakhtar manager Mircea Lucescu has apologized for the goal.

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