sport

Shakhtar v Juventus preview

Shakhtar Donetsk coach Mircea Lucescu has pledged to go for victory against Juventus despite having already reached the UEFA Champions League knockout stages.

The Ukrainian champions have been among the most impressive sides in this year's competition, securing qualification from Group E with a game to spare.

They welcome second-placed Juve to the Donbass Arena, where defending European champions Chelsea will be hoping Shakhtar come out on top.

The Blues are third in the pool and their head-to-head record is inferior to both teams above them, meaning a draw would see Juventus join Shakhtar in the last 16 regardless of the result at Stamford Bridge.

A point, though, would not be enough for Lucescu, who wants to end the group stage in style. "This game represents a big exam for us, against a team with great tradition, history and players," Lucescu said. "This is a game that transcends normal fixtures.

"Regardless of our qualification status, football is football, we're professionals and we'll take to the field with the desire to win.

"We're up against an incredibly strong side, who play a type of football I appreciate. They know our strengths and we know theirs. We're fully motivated and determined to show our hunger on the pitch."

Shakhtar will be without Luiz Adriano after the striker received a one-match ban for his controversial goal against FC Nordsjaelland on matchday five. Juventus will also be missing a key player as midfielder Claudio Marchisio serves his own one-match ban.

"The loss of Marchisio is a big blow for Juventus," Lucescu added. "Perhaps his absence will cause (Juve coach Antonio) Conte to make certain tactical changes."

Veteran Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon confessed to losing sleep over what he hesitantly referred to as the "third result". A Chelsea win coupled with a Juve defeat in Donetsk would see the Bianconeri slip out of the top two and into the Europa League.

Buffon said: "Our biggest concern is that third result, the one we really don't want to think about. It's the trap that we fear falling into.

"We know how good Shakhtar are and we respect them. But they have already qualified and so they will possibly be a bit more relaxed. No matter what happens, I think winning the games we have won in such a tough group shows we have what it takes to inspire fear in our opponents."