In September, Dynamo continued to hold on to the top spot in Ukraine Premier League. Their Europa League campaign was off to an extremely rocky start.
Ukraine Premier League
Dynamo’s first match in September saw them host Illichivets. With Shakhtar Donetsk winning 5-1 earlier in the round, the pressure was on Dynamo to get all three points. Milos Ninkovic, who was included in the starting XI ahead of Lukman Haruna gave the home team a 1-0 lead after 14 minutes by turning in a ricocheted Milevsky shot. In the second half, Yuri Semin introduced fit again Andriy Shevchenko with Dynamo up 1-0. On the 68th minute, Yarmolenko made it 2-0 with a goal from another rebound. Ukraine International Bogdan Butko scored an own goal on 73rd minute to give Dynamo a 3-0 lead. Dynamo defence became slightly complacent after the third goal which led to Illichivets scoring a late goal and ending Bilo-Syni’s long run of clean sheets.
Chernomorets Odessa took a 1-0 lead against Dynamo on the 17th minute. Club captain and legendary 36 year old goalkeeper Oleksandr Shovkovskiy’s howler can be held responsible for this goal. A Goran Popov foul on Leonardo Polito earned the home team a freekick. Donets’ freekick was hit almost straight at Shovkovskiy but the ‘keeper’ somehow failed to hold on. This was the veteran ‘keeper’s third howler within space of few games. Dynamo came back just before half time with two goals. Aliyev made no mistakes with his spot kick on 40th minute. Two minutes later a free flowing move saw Ninkovic and Milvesky combine to set up Yarmolenko, who fired from close range to score his 9th goal of the current season. Dynamo came close to scoring more goals but were let down by poor finishing as the match ended with a 2-1 away win for Bilo-Syni.
Shakhtar Donestsk travelled to the Lobanovsky stadium to play the most important match in Ukraine PL. Shakhtar’s recent record in Kiev had been pretty ordinary and they were beaten 3-1 by Dynamo in Ukraine Super Cup few months back. The home side started stronger as Goran Popov and Shevchenko came close to scoring while Vukojević had a strong penalty shout turned down. Shakhtar came back in the second half and dominated the game. Ultimately neither side could score a goal as Dynamo and Shakhtar played out a 0-0 draw for the first time in 20 years. The match was also marred by a string of yellow cards as both teams ended with 5 names on the referee’s books. The table remained unchanged with Shakhtar ahead on goal difference.
Yarmolenko broke Rebrov’s 13 year old record
Dynamo welcomed Stoke City to the Lobanovsky stadium in the opening game of group D. Stoke had last played European football 37 years back and had a measly experience of 9 games in Continental competitions compared to Dynamo’s 289. The Potters though depleted, were unfazed by the occasion and put up a typically sturdy defensive performance and frustrated the home team. Yarmolenko and Milevsky got the best opportunities in first half but failed to capitalize. Stoke took the lead against the run of play on 55th minute through Jerome.
Dynamo continued to create and miss chances with Aliyev hitting the bar and Shevchenko bafflingly trying to pass to Ideye when one on one with Sorensen. Vukojevic finally got the equalizer deep into injury time from a low cross by Yarmolenko. Dynamo escaped a potentially embarrassing result; Semin was left to ponder about his team’s showing. Dynamo failed to win their second EL match as well, drawing 1-1 in Israel after Brown Ideye put his team ahead in the first half. Dynamo’s chances of progressing to next round look pretty bleak right now.
Dynamo Players on International Duty
Andriy Yarmolenko and Oleksandr Shovkovskyy lined up for Oleg Blokhin’s Ukraine team against Uruguay in Kharkiv. The two Dynamo players showed sharply contrasting performances. Yarmolenko opened the scoring after just 15 seconds, latching onto a pass from Devic. Yarmolenko also provided the assist for Konoplyanka’s goal to put Ukraine 2-1 up.
The home team eventually went down 3-2 as the South American champions grabbed a late winner through Abel Hernandez to eke out a 3-2 win. Custodian Shovkovskyy had an indifferent match and can be blamed for a howler which led to Uruguay’s opening goal. Shovkovskyy was dropped for the game against Czech Republic but Yarmolenko made it to the starting XI yet again. Ukraine was roundly defeated by the Czechs by a 4-0 scoreline. Pressure mounts on National Team coach and Dynamo legend Oleg Blokhin – Ukraine has lost each of its last four matches.
A number of Dynamo players took part in qualifiers for Euro 2012. Goran Popov started for FYR Macedonia against Russia but couldn’t prevent a narrow 1-0 loss. He played 90 minutes against Andorra as FYR Macedonia ended a 4 game losing streak to win 1-0. Milos Ninkovic played for 74 minutes and 84 minutes respectively against Northern Ireland and Faroe Islands as his Serbian team grabbed two important victories.
Croatia was expected to win their match against basement boys Malta and they obtained a 3-1 win without much fuss. Ognjen Vukojević started the rout with a well taken goal after 12 minutes as Croatia kept pace with table toppers Greece. They overtook Greece on 6th September after a well-deserved 3-1 win over Israel with Vukojević in starting lineup.
Dynamo progressed to the Round of 16 in Ukraine Cup after seeing off FC Kremin (Kremenchuk) in a keenly contested match. Semin fielded an experimental line-up handing a number of players their first start in Dynamo. Rybalka, Adi, Dudu scored a goal each to put Dynamo up 3-0 before their opponents came back to score two goals. The Blue and White’s performance in September wasn’t as ominous as their performance in last month. Yuri Semin’s team needs to improve their performance if they want to avoid a season without silverware.
Player of the Month : Andriy Yarmolenko
September was filled with inconsistent performances from most Dynamo players. Yarmolenko was one of the best players for the club and he impressed for Ukraine as well. Yarmolenko’s goal against Uruguay was the fastest goal in the history of Ukraine National Team surpassing former Dynamo Kyiv legend Sergei Rebrov’s goal against Georgia in 1998. He featured on the scorer’s list more than once for Dynamo and also assisted the crucial equalizer against Stoke City.