A year after crashing out of the Champion's League with just one win, Shakhtar Donetsk was out to start off this competition right and Henrikh Mkhitaryan made sure that they would. He scored two goals to lead the hosts past FC Nordsjaelland in a composed and professional performance by Shakhtar.
The first half wasn't particularly entertaining as both teams struggled to create chances, but Shakhtar were certainly the better side as pushed Nordsjaelland back and forced the visitors into panicked long balls up field. The best chance of the early going came through Willian, who got free on a header in the 17th minute, but Jesper Hansen saved it with ease.
Late in the half, the action finally picked up. Minutes after Nicolai Stockholm's long shot proved that Nordsjaelland was capable of attacking, Mkhitaryan got a shot away that forced Hansen into a good save on the other end. That sparked Shakhtar and just before halftime Mkhitaryan got another chance that he buried to put the hosts in front.
Once ahead, Shakhtar poured on the pressure. They started the second half by freeing up Darijo Srna for a shot, but Hansen was there to save it. Hansen then managed to recover and save Tomas Buschman's rebound try for another fine save. Mkhitaryan then forced him into another save and Willian called upon him too, hitting a wicked shot that he knocked away.
Finally, Shakhtar got the goal that they came so close to getting all half when Mkhitaryan beat Hansen for a second time in the 76th minute. That put a bow on the match and earned Shakhtar a deserved three points that has them on their way to avenging last year's disappointment.