In the month of August, Dynamo Kyiv were knocked out by Rubin Kazan in the UEFA Champions League qualifiers, but they showed impressive form in Ukraine Premier League. Dynamo also progressed to the group stages of the UEFA Europa League.
Ukraine Premier League
August was a brilliant month for Dynamo as the club did not drop a single point in the domestic league. The record time UPL winners ended July on a sour note after a 0-0 stalemate at Metalurh, so the pressure was on Yuri Semin’s men to raise the level of their performance to challenge Shakhtar Donetsk.
Dynamo hosted Karpaty Lviv on 7th August with Shakhtar five points ahead, having played one match more. The Bilo-Syni needed a victory and they achieved it without much fuss by scoring two goals without reply. Dynamo missed two first team regulars – ‘keeper Oleksandr Shovkovskyy and defender Danilo Silva – but still managed to keep a clean sheet.
Just after the half hour mark, Andrei Shevchenko scored a typical poachers goal by tapping in a loose ball after Lviv custodian failed to clear a cross from left-back Goran Popov. Dynamo continued to dominate possession and looked more likely to extend their lead. In the second half, Gusev and Yarmolenko came close to making it 2-0 but fluffed easy chances. In the 54th minute, midfielder Vukojevic finally doubled Dynamo’s tally with an awkwardly struck lob after a corner by Roman Eremenko. Shevchenko came close to scoring his second goal of the match but failed to hit the target on two occasions as the match ended 2-0. This victory gave Semi’s team a confidence boost after a winless streak of three matches.
Next, Dynamo travelled across town to play Arsenal Kyiv in the “Capital Derby”. Dynamo faced an uphill task after 26 minutes as Denys Harmash was sent off. Under trying circumstances, Shevchenko rose to the occasion, like the great player he is. A foul on Yarmolenko earned Dynamo a spot kick in the 37th minute and the former AC Milan legend did not make a mistake to put Dynamo 1-0 up. A minute later, it was “Sheva” who released a long pass towards Brown Ideye, splitting open the entire Arsenal defence. Ideye made it 2-0, which was the final scoreline. Unfortunately, Shevchenko broke his jaw during this match and was subsequently ruled out for a few weeks.
FC Kryvbas Kryvyi Rih travelled to the Valeriy Lobanovsky stadium as Dynamo lined-up without their charismatic captain. This Round-7 match proved to be tough for the Bilo-Syni who struggled to break down a well-organized Kryvbas defence. Dynamo enjoyed lion’s share of the possession but had to be careful about their opponent’s dangerous counter-attacks. In the 18th minute, Milevskiy was denied a goal when his shot bounced off the frame of the goal. Kryvbas continued to frustrate the hosts as the scoreline read 0-0 at half time.
In the second half, Andriy Yarmlenko finally broke the deadlock with a fierce drive from edge of the penalty box. The goal helped Dynamo find their rhythm as they created several other chances but were let down by poor finishing from Aliyev and Haruna. Match finished 1-0 to Dynamo Kiev.
Popov showed impressive form in August
Having sealed Europa League progress, an upbeat Dynamo travelled to Dnepropetrovsk to take on two times former Soviet champions Dnipro. Juande Ramos’s side has been struggling in domestic front, having won just two games so far and the gulf in form was evident throughout the match. Dynamo battered their hapless opponents and scored four goals without any reply.
Goran Popov opened the scoring after 24 minutes with a bullet header from a low corner by Aliyev. Right-sided midfielder Oleksandr Aliyev played an important part in Dynamo’s second goal by doing the spadework for Milevskiy’s strike. Milevskiy beat Dnipro’s offside trap to receive Aliyev’s pass from the right flank with a perfect first touch and made no mistakes with the finish. Dnipro pushed hard to find a goal but conceded one more goal just before half-time after a devastating counter attack from Dynamo. Danilo Silva deserves a lot of credit for this goal as his darting run from the half line created a chance for Brown Ideye. The Nigerian’s weak shot was pushed away by Dnipro custodian but only towards Yarmolenko, who scored an easy tap in.
A rampant Dynamo showed no mercy in the second half as they scored a fourth goal through Yarmolenko after some wonderful build-up play. Milevskiy received the ball on the edge of the penalty box with his back towards the goal. The #10 released Eremenko on the right side with a cheeky back heel. Eremenko launched a perfectly weighted cross towards Yarmolenko for the latter’s second goal of the day. Dynamo finished August on a high in their domestic campaign.
Champions League and Europa League
Dynamo Kyiv, a club that has reached Champions League semi-finals on multiple occasions have failed to properly negotiate with the tournament in recent times. This season was no different as they got knocked out by Rubin Kazan in the qualifers.
Having lost 2-0 in Kiev, Dynamo faced an uphill task in Tartarstan against a side known for its defensive stubbornness. In the 12th minute, it looked like Bilo-Syni had scored an early goal but Vukojevic effort was cancelled for offside. Any hopes of a Dynamo revival were crushed after twenty minutes when Dyadyun put Rubin 1-0 up, by slotting in a rebound. Three minutes before the final whistle, Medvedev drove the final nail in Dynamo’s coffin by turning in a low cross from right flank. Husyev’s well taken goal deep into injury time was a very small consolation for Semin’s team.
Litex Lovech, the club which has won back-to-back Bulgarian titles in last two seasons, faced off against Dynamo in the Europa League qualifiers. Seven minutes in, Milesky failed to control a cross from Popov but was brought down by the Litex ‘keeper. In Shevchenko’s absence, Ninkovic didn’t make a mistake from the spot, handing Dynamo a valuable away goal. Six minutes later, Litex captain made it 1-1 with a beautifully struck volley from outside the box. Thirteen minutes before the final whistle, Milevskiy and Yarmolenko combined delightfully to set up Ideye for an easy header as Dynamo came back with a 2-1 win. Yuri Semin’s team took care of Litex without much fuss in home leg – curving out a 1-0 win via a Milevskiy goal.
Dynamo Kyiv cannot afford any slip ups in Europa League group stages as they have been put in a “Group of Death”. They have been selected in Group E along with English FA Cup runners up Stoke City, Turkish Cup winners Besiktas and Maccabi Tel-Aviv; all three ferocious oppositions, especially at home.
Highlights of the Month
The biggest positive for Dynamo Kyiv in August was their 100% record in UPL. Dynamo didn’t concede a single goal in the last month. Their current run of domestic clean sheets extends from 22nd July till date. Another key highlight of August was Dynamo climbing to the top of league table ahead of Shakhtar Donetsk on goal difference. Shakhtar dropped to second place after their 2-2 draw against Chornomorets last week.
A number of new players were bought before the transfer window closed; namely 19-year-old Brazilian midfielder Dudu from Cruzeiro, 20-year-old Colombian striker Andres Escobar and Turkish midfielder Serdzhan Yildirim from Bursaspor. Dynamo also lost Eremenko, who joined Rubin Kazan.
September is going to be an important month for Dynamo with matches against Stoke City and Shakhtar Donetsk coming up.
Player of the Month – Goran Popov
The Macedonian left-back had an indifferent start to his Dynamo career but has found form off late. He was ever present in defence during Dynamo’s impressive run of cleansheets throughout the month. His overlaps, in tandem with that of Brazilian Danilo on the opposite wing, posed offensive threat to opposing full-backs. He rounded up an excellent month with an opportunistic headed goal against Dnipro.
Goal of the Month – Andriy Yarmolenko (vs FC Kryvbas Kryvyi Rih)