Shakhtar Donetsk wear shirts bearing names of Ukrainian cities in first match since war began

Shakhtar Donetsk wear shirts bearing names of Ukrainian cities in first match since war began
Shakhtar beaten 1-0 by Olympiacos in first "Global Tour for Peace" match

Ukrainian football team Shakhtar Donetsk played for the first time since Russian forces invaded their country back in February.

Players sported shirts that bore the names of the 10 different Ukrainian cities that have fought against the invasion - Mariupol, Irpin, Bucha, Hostomel, Kharkiv, Volnovakha, Chernihiv, Kherson, Okhtyrka, and Mykolaiv.

The match is one of four clashes planned for Shaktar as part of their "Global Tour for Peace" with the aim to raise money for refugees and those who have been affected by the ongoing war.

Olympiacos were their first opponents who hosted them in the Karaiskakis Stadium in Athens, Greece for the "Stop the War" friendly match which sent out a clear message of solidarity and called for peace in Ukraine.

There was also a toy collection to give to refugee children as well as a minute of silence ahead of the tie.

During the match, Brazilian forward Tiquinho's strike in the 22nd minute ultimately won the match for the Greek side but sporting director Christian Karembeu and Shakhtar equivalent Sergei Palkin noted there was a more important message than the scoreline.

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

Palkin also said: "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."

"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 said ahead of 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.

Shakhtar's next match is against Polish team Lechia Gdansk on April 14 and they will also face Turkish side Fenerbahce on April 19, and the Croatian team Hajduk Split on May 1.

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