MX23RW : Friday, December 14 01:26:55

Match Analysis: Shakhtar Donetsk 1-1 Manchester United

Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at tonight's Champions League encounter between Shakhtar Donetsk and Manchester United which ended as a 1-1 draw.

Manchester United ground out a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Shakhtar Donetsk this evening to remain top of Group A.

Danny Welbeck opened the scoring for the hosts in the 18th minute when he slid in to sweep Marouane Fellaini's low cross past the keeper from close range.

Shakhtar were forced to wait until the 76th minute for the equaliser, which eventually came through Taison, who slammed the ball into the roof of the net following an interception by Nemanja Vidic.

Here, Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at a good away draw for the Red Devils in Europe.

Match statistics:

Shakhtar Donetsk:
Shots 6
On target 2
Possession 57%
Corners 6
Fouls 9

Manchester United:
Shots 4
On target 1
Possession 43%
Corners 3
Fouls 17

Was the result fair?

Yes, a draw probably was the fairest result. It was a match of few chances and Shakhtar came closer to scoring more often than United, but both teams made the most of their best chances and there wasn't much to choose from them throughout. Shakhtar were the better side in the second half as United looked to defend their lead and, for that, the hosts deserved their equaliser, but both sides would have felt hard done by had they lost this match.

Shakhtar's performance

They weren't quite at their free-flowing best, but it was a decent performance from the hosts. The second half was a bit of an onslaught at times as they looked for the equaliser, but they rarely looked like seriously troubling a sturdy United defence. Performances like that should be enough to get them out of the group stages, but they won't be progressing much further than that.

Man Utd's performance

It was by no means a vintage United performance, but David Moyes will still be very happy with it. They put in a much better display than they did against West Brom at the weekend and came away with a point from a very tough looking fixture. That is the hardest match they will have in this group stage - on paper at least - so to get a point out of it is good enough. They are still by no means the finished article under Moyes, but there were more positives than negatives tonight and, even without Wayne Rooney, they looked capable of winning.

Sports Mole's man of the match

David de Gea: No player stood head and shoulders above the rest tonight but De Gea gets the award simply because without him United would have lost. The Spaniard didn't have an awful lot to do, but he made vital stops from a Chris Smalling deflection and a dangerous low cross into the box. There was nothing he could do about the goal, but he will still be annoyed at having conceded.

Biggest gaffe

This one goes to the referee and his linesman for not spotting that Antonio Valencia was the last to touch the ball as it went out for a throw-in in the first half. It is a relatively minor gaffe usually, but the consequences of this one make it very significant. From the throw, United went on to score what ultimately proved to be a vital goal.

Referee performance

Pavel Kralovec had a relatively quiet game with few major decisions to make. He had one strong penalty appeal in the first half that he got right, but a couple of his more minor decisions were a bit suspect. Not a terrible game from the ref but he didn't exactly get everything right either.

What next?

Shakhtar: Shakhtar will look to get their league form back on track when they face Arsenal Kiev on Saturday.

Manchester United: United will also be looking to turn their domestic form around away to Sunderland on Saturday evening.

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Manchester United's English striker Danny Welbeck celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the English Premier League football match between Swansea City and Manchester United at Liberty Stadium in Swansea, south Wales, on August 17, 2013
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