Ukraine-Russia crisis

Shakhtar Donetsk play for first time since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 'Stop War' friendly vs Olympiacos

00:18 EAT 10/04/2022
Shakhtar Donetsk Stop War friendly vs Olympiacos 2022
Saturday's match was the first of four aimed to raise funds for refugees and those affected by the invasion

Ukrainian giants Shakhtar Donetsk took to the field on Saturday for the first time since Russia invaded the nation in February.

Olympiacos played host to the club in Greece as the two sides played a moving friendly organised to send a message of peace.

It is one of four matches that Shakhtar will play across Europe in order to raise funds for those affected by the ongoing conflict.

'A tool for peace'

Saturday's meeting in Athens marked Shakhtar's first game of 2022, after the second half of the Ukrainian season was postponed indefinitely following the invasion by neighbouring Russia.

All gate receipts in Athens will be donated to humanitarian and aid concerns in Ukraine, while toys were also collected for refugee children and a moment of silence held to honour those killed in the conflict.

Olympiacos ran out winners in the friendly thanks to Tiquinho's solitary strike, but sporting director Christian Karembeu and Shakhtar counterpart Sergei Palkin underlined that the result was of secondary importance.

"We are proud to host this event to raise awareness of the war. We use football as a tool for peace," Karembeu told reporters.

Palkin added: "We want to talk about war and peace in Ukraine in these matches. The need to end this madness and return to normal life and to rebuild the country."

The bigger picture

Shakhtar's tour continues on April 14 against Lechia Gdansk, before taking on Fenerbahce and Hajduk Split in the coming weeks.

“We want to talk about war and peace in Ukraine through these matches. About the terrible war that Russia unleashed against Ukraine, about the suffering and destruction that this war brought to our country,” Palkin had said prior to Saturday's match.

“About peace – the need to end this madness, return to normal life and rebuild the country. Our messages are simple: stop war in Ukraine and football for peace – that says it all.”

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