AMSTERDAM – Despite another solid Champions League outing from Michael Parkhurst, Danish champs FC Nordsjælland saw all knockout hopes dashed by a controversy-marred 5-2 home defeat to Ukrainian counterparts Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday.
The US right back, whose lone demerit was for being among the culpable on Shakhtar's second equalizer near halftime, also saw yellow in stoppage time to break up a rush. Parkhurst spent most of the night ably helping his side forward into attack.
The game became open to question with Nordsjælland up 1-0 in the 26th minute. Shakhtar appeared set to make the sportsmanlike return of an uncontested drop-ball following a play stoppage in their end, but Luiz Adriano collected Willan's lazy punt to score on a breakaway with the home defense standing around stunned.
After the resulting kickoff, Shakhtar played another trick by initially pretending to stand aside so FCN could reclaim a one-goal lead before suddenly stealing to try a quick counter move. The bemused but wiser hosts immediately responded by marching down the field to grab the lead back by force, but would eventually fall apart in the second half.
With one Group E game remaining, the Wild Tigers are assured of a last-place finish, which means their European adventure will end after the Dec. 5 visit to Chelsea.