Shakhtar Donetsk's South American blend proved too strong for AS Roma as goals from Facundo Ferreyra and Fred gave them a 2-1 win in a Champions League tie played in freezing conditions on Wednesday.
The Serie A team appeared to be coasting in the round-of-16 first-leg tie when Cengiz Under put them ahead with his fifth goal in four games four minutes before halftime. Yet as the temperature dipped towards minus-nine Celsius, Argentine striker Ferreyra took advantage of poor Roma defending to score with an expertly-taken goal in the 52nd minute.
That turned the game on its head and it was no surprise when Brazilian midfielder Fred curled in a free kick off the underside of the crossbar to stun the visitors in the 71st minute.
"The team performed well in the second half," said Shakhtar's Portuguese coach Paulo Fonseca, whose side reached the knockout stage at the expense of Roma's fellow Italians Napoli. "It wasn't easy to keep up that pace after a long winter break. The only reason we didn't win by a bigger margin was a brilliant display from the Roma keeper."
Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco was left angry and baffled by their second-half collapse, saying he felt as if he had fielded two different teams in the Champions League tie.
"It was as if we fielded two different teams tonight," said Di Francesco. "The difference was that in the first half, we played to hurt them and in second we sat back which I don't understand.
"We conceded a goal from a move started by their central defender which was easy to read, which is annoying, but that mistake doesn't justify our performance at the end," he added. "We committed schoolboy mistakes from players who have international experience."
However, he found some praise for Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson.
"He has presence in goal and he makes the difficult saves look easy," he said. "I like the way he interprets the role. He is turning into a great goalkeeper."