LONDON // The Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk left Tottenham Hotspur staring at an exit from the competition after netting late goals for a 2-0 victory in their first knockout round first leg tie on Thursday. Shakhtar, playing their first competitive match since early December, ended stubborn resistance from a makeshift Spurs side in the final 12 minutes at a freezing Olympiyskiy Stadium. A gaffe from the Tottenham goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes handed Shakhtar the lead after 78 minutes with substitute Yevgen Seleznov scoring just seconds after coming on.
Jadson swung a free kick into the box and fellow Brazilian Gomes was beaten to the ball by Seleznov who headed in. Gomes, who appeared not to be touched by any player, fell to the ground clutching his head and was given treatment while a chorus of boos rang out from the home fans. Shakhtar left Spurs with an uphill battle for next week's return at White Hart Lane by adding a second goal two minutes from time. Jadson cut in from the right and played a one-two before creating space for a shot that comfortably beat Gomes.
Tottenham face a Premier League clash at Hull City on Monday in a battle to avoid relegation and a League Cup final against Manchester United at Wembley three days after the return leg but the defender Michael Dawson said they were still in the tie. "The last 15 minutes have cost us... we had coped well until then and we are disappointed to go home with a two-goal deficit," Dawson told Channel Five television.
"It's going to be an uphill task but we still think we can do it. We know how good we are at home and we will have to take the game to them." The Swedish midfielder Kennedy Bakircioglu's goal on the hour secured the Dutch side Ajax a 1-0 win over Fiorentina at the Artemio Franchi stadium in Florence. Bakircioglu finished off a neat move in the penalty area to leave Fiorentina, semi-finalists last season, a tough task in the second leg.
Alberto Gilardino had a great chance to equalise midway through the second half but the ball got stuck under his feet when he was free just eight metres out. Twente Enschede, second in the Dutch championship, continued their good run of form under the former England manager Steve McClaren with a surprise 1-0 win over Olympique Marseille at Stade Velodrome. The Austrian international Marko Arnautovic hit the only goal after 22 minutes, bundling in Blaise Nkufo's left-wing cross.
Substitute Martin Vingaard headed an injury-time equaliser to earn FC Copenhagen a 2-2 draw with Manchester City at a snowy Parken stadium in the Danish capital. City had twice led with their first goal on the half-hour coming after Copenhagen keeper Jesper Christiansen allowed a tame shot from Nedum Onuoha to squirm under his hands. The Brazilian Ailton Almeida equalised with a powerful header from a corner but the Danes were level for just five minutes before Stephen Ireland met a Shaun Wright Phillips cross with a crisp volley at the near post.
Lech Poznan staged a fine comeback from 2-0 down to earn a 2-2 draw at home to Udinese, the Polish side scoring twice in a three-minute spell in the final 10 minutes. The Italians looked to be heading home with a two-goal cushion after Fabio Quagliarella headed the opener five minutes after the break and then defender Manuel Arboleda deflected a shot past his own keeper. The Peruvian striker Hernan Rengifo was left unmarked to start the comeback after 81 minutes before Arboleda headed in to make it 2-2.
The final will be staged in Istanbul on May 20. *Reuters