New England Soccer Today

Nordsjælland Falls in Champions League Opener

Michael Parkhurst’s F.C. Nordsjælland fell 2-0 to Shakhtar Donetsk at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk, Ukraine on Wednesday evening in the two clubs 2012-2013 UEFA Champions League opener. Parkhurst, a Cranston, R.I. native, played the full 90 minutes in the loss.

After one game Danish club Nordsjælland (0-1-0, 0 points) sits in last place in Group E behind the Ukrainian club Donetsk (1-0-0, 3 points), English club Chelsea (0-0-1, 1 point) and Italian club Juventus. Reigning European Champions Chelsea and Italian Champions Juventus drew 2-2 in London on Wednesday.

The top two teams in each group advance to the round of 16, while third place teams enter the Europa League round of 32. Fourth place teams are eliminated from European competition.

Nordsjælland held 61 percent of the possession in Donetsk, but were outshot 20 to 3 and conceded two goals to Henrik Mkhitaryan in the 44th and 76th minutes. Parkhurst, a former New England Revolution defender, was whistled for one foul in the match.

“I stand here with mixed emotions,” Nordsjælland coach Kasper Hjulmand told “Obviously we are all disappointed at the defeat but we did not lose our DNA, our special way of doing things. We have the feeling that the match was decided when they got the first goal shortly before half-time – that combined with the fact that we did not make enough of our chances on the counterattack.

“However, the fact that we were able to play with the courage and calmness that we did gives us faith in our way of doing things. We are on the right track.”

Nordsjælland, who currently sit in third place in the Danish Superliga with a 4-2-3 (15 points) record, return to league action on Saturday with a home match against Randers FC, the current club of Manchester, N.H. native and former Boston College Eagle, Charlie Davies, at Farum Park (Farum, Denmark).

Nordsjælland returns to Champions League action on Oct. 2, with a crucial home match against Chelsea.

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