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PSG vs. Shakhtar Donetsk: Winners and Losers from UEFA Champions League

Published by Bleacher Report on Wed, 09 Dec 2015

Paris Saint-Germain finished their 2015/16 UEFA Champions League group stage with a 2-0 win over ShakhtarDonetsk.Already through to the round of 16, manager Laurent Blanc was looking for a solid performance before heading into the competition's winter break, and his sidethough they struggled at timeswereable to secure three points and second place behind Real Madrid in Group A.Qualifying in second last season did the Parisians no harm, as they beat Chelsea over two legs, but they will be hoping for a more favourable draw on December 14, with knockout matches starting the third week of February.Investigating their last European tune-up match, though, PSG can take several positives from the performance.Shakhtar played with the knowledge a decent result would likely see them into the UEFA Europa Leaguewith Malmo playing (and losing 8-0) to Real Madridso the Ukrainian side's effort was apparent.The three-time defending Ligue 1 champions, however, proved too much over 90 minutes, and the two-goal margin of victory properly reflected the gap in quality.Winner: Kevin TrappDespite having 56 per cent possession, PSG's goal was found in danger on various occasions.Shakhtar found themselves in promising positions, but Kevin Trapp's goalkeeping performance kept them out.Starting 16 games of Paris Saint-Germain's 17-match undefeated streak in Ligue 1, the summer-transfer-window acquisition from Eintracht Frankfurt made two saves and dealt calmly with five corners. In a rather boring circumstance, the German's ability to keep focused and produce timely defensive stops was crucial to bridging the hour-long gap between 0-0 and 2-0.Trapp's 15th clean sheet of the season is not his most important, but maintaining his momentum is vital for the Parisian's continued success. The 25-year-old's performance vs.Shakhtar Donetsk did that effort justice.Loser, Turned Winner: LucasLucas Moura had an interesting evening of Champions League football. Working in fantastic positions and taking on players, the hallmarks of his game were there, but the polished end product was lacking.No doubt frustrating for those at the Parc des Princes, the rapid Brazilian completed a number take-ons but took until the 57th minute to get on the scoresheet.Receiving a Zlatan Ibrahimovic pass, Lucas found himself on the outside of the 18-yard box and coolly slotted his shot pastShakhtar Donetsk's goalkeeper Anton Kanibolotskiy.Frustrating in the opening half and making unwise decisions in possession, many will forget those mistakes and instead focus their attention on his opener.The Brazil international would be sage to do likewise.Winner: Zlatan IbrahimovicPlaying without Thiago Silva, Thiago Motta, Javier Pastore, Marco Verratti and Gregory van der Wiel, PSG were missing some of their massive stars, but Blanc's largest star was definitely in attendance.Ibrahimovic was his usual self: classy, strong and influential when PSG were in attack (he also made a crucial goal-line clearance).Assisting on Lucas' opening goal for the French champions, the Brazilian repaid his Swedish team-mateand the day's captainin the 86th minute.Latching on to a headed through ball before finding himself one-on-one withKanibolotskiy, a player of Ibra's quality had no choice but to score.The 34-year-old doesn't have many seasons left in Europe's top flight and is yet to win the Champions League.In a season complete with parity, Paris Saint-Germain are as equipped as any to make noise in the knockout stages. Their ageing talisman is the focal point.Follow @danieltiluk*Stats viaWhoScored.com; transfer fees viaSoccerbasewhere not noted.Read more World Football news on BleacherReport.com
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