Football Features

Shakhtar Donetsk 0-0 Inter Milan: Andriy Pyatov defies expectations to hold Italian champions in Ukraine

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 20:04, 28 September 2021

In a frustrating night of football, Shakhtar Donetsk held Inter Milan to a 0-0 draw in the Champions League.

The result was the first points of the group for both sides after their matchday one defeats, so in that sense it wasn’t an unsuccessful evening but neither Simone Inzaghi nor Roberto De Zerbi can come away from the game pleased with what they say, well, except for Andriy Pyatov.

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The game itself was just so frustratingly devoid of goals despite both teams flying at each other from pretty much the opening whistle. Inter had 11 shots, Shakhtar had 12. The problem is they each only had 2 shots on target. They were so wayward in front of goal and to make matters worse, Inter’s shots on target came in the last couple of minutes. So for most of the game there was nothing on target. Nothing to make Andriy Pyatov work.

Which is ridiculous because Pyatov is one of the most legendary soft touches in the Champions League. A baffling goalkeeper who is perpetually on the verge of making another mistake. Hell, he made two errors leading to shots on matchday one against Sherrif and his legacy of nonsense goes as far back as his career.

One can recall in 2008/09 against Pep Guardiola’s burgeoning Barcelona side when Pyatov spilled a simple cross and allowed Messi to score a late equaliser (and then a winner) at the Donbass Arena. That was 12 years ago and the only thing that’s changed since then is an emergence of a challenger to his throne in Anatoliy Trubin.

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Trubin was in goal last season for Shakhtar when they shocked Real Madrid twice in the Champions League, but illness has ruled him out and given Pyatov a way back into the starting role. Now, you would have expected another disaster from Pyatov to almost lay out the red capet for Trubin’s return, but that’s not what happened.

Pyatov was sensational against Shakhtar. He didn’t have too much to do in terms of saves, but cut a composed figure in the box under Inter’s relentless pressure. And then when they did call on him in the last five minutes, moments when you were certain that he would make like he did against Messi and fold up, but no, he stood tall and made two absolutely massive saves to maintain his clean sheet.

Milan Skriniar, who was performing miracles of his own up the other end to contain Shakhtar’s attack, must have thought he would be the star of the game but Andriy Pyatov stole the headlines from the Slovakian centre-back… in a positive way! At 37 years-old, is Andriy Pyatov finally going to find the the form of a true goalkeeping great?