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Zenit St Petersburg forward Hulk.
Zenit St Petersburg forward Hulk.

Injury blow to Hulk as Shakhtar Donetsk sign off UAE visit in style

The forward is left needing stitches as Zenit St Petersburg lose the friendly match against Shakhtar 3-1 in Dubai.

DUBAI // Hulk, Zenit St Petersburg's striker, was taken to a Dubai hospital last night after suffering a head injury during his side's 3-1 defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk at the Zabeel Stadium.

The 26 year old, who has been called up to Luis Felipe Scolari's first Brazil squad, was through on goal midway through the second half of the low-key friendly when he was bundled over. As he fell, his head appeared to connect with a Shakhtar defender's studs. Post-match, with his head wrapped in a bandage, he said he expected "seven or eight stitches".

Shakhtar, who won the Matchworld Cup in Abu Dhabi last week after defeating Al Hilal and Zamalek, picked up from where they left off when Henrik Mkhitaryan scored after 21 minutes.

Zenit, to their credit, quickly hit back through Konstantin Zyryanov, but Mkhitaryan netted again before half-time for Shakhtar.

With Zenit losing Hulk's muscular presence midway through the second half, Shakhtar, the Ukrainian champion's, grew in strength with Willian in particular impressing through the midfield.

The Brazilian has been linked with a transfer to the Premier League after returning late to training from holiday. He was criticised by his coach Mircea Lucescu and given only a 20-minute run-out in Abu Dhabi, but last night he featured for more than an hour and looked sharp, cutting in from the right wing and playing clever through balls.

Eduardo, the former Arsenal forward, finished the scoring with a neat header with 10 minutes remaining as Shakhtar signed off from their warm weather training camp undefeated.

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae

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