Antwerp learnt a harsh lesson in European football against Ukranian giants FC Shakhtar Donetsk. After taking a 2-0 lead, through Abnor Muja and Michel Ange Balikwisha, into half time and dominating the majority of the first half, the Great Old completely switched off in the second half as Shakhtar came back fighting. The Ukrainians battled back to level, thanks to Danylo Sikan and Yaroslav Rakitskiy.
At 2-2, Antwerp completed their own implosion after the usually reliable Jean Butez made a huge error, keeping the ball in play rather than letting it go out for a corner. The ball was recovered by Yegor Nazrayna who squared for Sikan to tuck home and make it 3-2.
Deep into added time Antwerp were given a lifeline after a handball in the box gave them a penalty. Striker Vincent Janssen missed two penalties recently against RWDM, meaning that Toby Alderweireld was given the responsibility. The former Tottenham defender, scorer of the goal that won Antwerp their first title since 1957 last campaign, managed to miss the target completely.
Antwerp are now bottom of their group and facing a huge task to qualify for the next round or even the Europa League. After a 5-0 defeat to Barcelona, they needed to get their campaign back on track. They face FC Porto next, who beat Shakthar and lost to Barcelona. Failure to win on the 25th October will all but end Antwerp’s chances of progression, with their only home game after that being against the Spanish giants.