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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ukrainian breakthrough: Shakhtar takes UEFA Cup

May 21, 2009|Kyiv Post

Shakhtar Donetsk, the soccer team owned and funded by Ukraine’s richest man, Rinat Akhmetov, won the UEFA Cup on Wednesday in a spectacular 2:1 victory over Werder Bremen, of Germany.

The match, held in Istanbul, marked the first time in history that a Ukrainian team claimed a European soccer trophy. The victory also serves as a sign of the increasing international might of soccer teams in Ukraine, where soccer-crazed billionaires invest heavily into their regional teams.

Akhmetov has pump hundreds of millions of dollars into his Donetsk-based Shakhtar soccer team, purchasing top talent from abroad and building a brand new stadium scheduled to open this year.

Shakhtar is the last club to win the UEFA Cup competition before it is renamed the Europa League for next season.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko and his arch political enemy from the Orange Revolution, opposition leader Viktor Yanukovich, attended the match cheering the Ukrainian team on.

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