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Champions League Preview: Dynamo Kiev - Inter

Wednesday, November 4, 20:45 CET
Valeriy Lobanovskiy Stadium, Kiev

Dynamo Confident Of Obtaining Positive Result


Group F is probably the tightest and most unpredictable of this Champions League group stage, with all four teams having just about the same chances of going through. Barcelona, Dynamo Kiev, and Rubin Kazan all have four points after three games, while Inter have three and are the only unbeaten team in the group.

When Ukrainian champions Dynamo and Italian champions Inter locked horns two weeks ago at San Siro, the result was an exciting 2-2 draw in which Jose Mourinho’s team were forced to chase the game for long periods. It was a match both sides could have won, so the result was certainly justified, and now Valeri Gazzaev’s team have a great chance in their home match against the Nerazzurri to get three points which would edge them closer to qualification.

The team are currently on top of the table in their league after 12 games, with a four-point advantage over Shakhtar Donetsk. In the Champions League they have also done well, beating Russian champs Rubin Kazan 3-1 in Kiev, before losing a competitive away match against Barcelona 2-0 and drawing in Milan against Inter.

Overall, however, Dynamo have not had the best of luck in home games against Italian opposition recently. Their last home match against an Italian side, almost two years ago against Roma, was lost 4-1, and they’ve dropped four out of their last five meetings at home against Serie A clubs.

Turning Point For Inter

There’s no denying that much of Inter’s season depends on the result of this match. After failing to win any of their first three matches in the Champions League, which is the competition they really ought to be going for this season after four consecutive Serie A titles, they need to win this game at all costs to have a realistic chance of surviving the group stage.

Although it was clear from the start that this would be a particularly tricky group, not qualifying could have very serious consequences for the Nerazzurri, and in particular for Mourinho. It’s no secret that the Portuguese coach was brought to the club by president Massimo Moratti to win the Champions League, but so far the team’s results have been worse than under his predecessor Roberto Mancini, who at least managed to make the team do well in the group stages.

In Serie A, things have been plain-sailing for Inter, as they have been scoring and winning games with ease. They are currently on a run of five consecutive victories, and in two of those they scored five goals. Last weekend Mourinho’s outfit stretched their lead on top of Serie A to seven points.

Yet the Nerazzurri’s outstanding performances in Serie A have somehow not quite given them the confidence to succeed in Europe as well. It could be because the Italian league has decreased in quality over the last few years, but with the players Inter have available, they should not consider themselves inferior to any other team in this competition.

The Nerazzurri faced a similarly decisive encounter in Kiev on the last group matchday of the 2003-04 season, when they also had to win to survive the group stage. However, they were unable to get more than a 1-1 draw, after a late goal by Diogo Rincon canceled out Daniele Adani’s opener. Inter ended up in third place behind Arsenal and Lokomotiv Moscow in their group, and entered the UEFA Cup, while Dynamo finished last. Earlier in that campaign, the Nerazzurri had beaten the Ukrainians 2-1 in Milan thanks to a late goal by Christian Vieri.


FORM GUIDE

Dynamo Kiev


October 31 v Karpaty Lviv (H) – DREW 1-1 (League)

October 28 v Shakhtar Donetsk (A) – LOST 2-0 (Cup)

October 24 v Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (A) – WON 2-0 (League)

October 20 v Inter (A) – DREW 2-2 (Champions League)

October 17 v Obolon Kyiv (H) – WON 2-1 (League)

Inter

November 1 v Livorno (A) – WON 2-0 (Serie A)

October 29 v Palermo (H) – WON 5-3 (Serie A)

October 24 v Catania (H) – WON 2-1 (Serie A)

October 20 v Dynamo Kiev (H) – DREW 2-2 (Champions League)

October 17 v Genoa (A) – WON 5-0 (Serie A)


TEAM NEWS

Dynamo Kiev


Badr El Kaddouri and Andriy Nesmachniy have both been out since August due to ankle and knee injuries respectively. Goalkeeper Olexandr Shovkovskiy has stomach problems, Pape Diakhate is out with a knee injury, while Ayila Yussuf has a thigh injury.

Possible formation (4-3-3): Bogush; Eremenko, Khacheridi, Almeida, Magrao; Mikhalik, Ninkovic, Vukojevic; Yarmolenko, Shevchenko, Milevskiy.

Inter

Mourinho has called up his entire first team for this match, although Wesley Sneijder and Thiago Motta are doubtful as they are still recovering from thigh strains. If Sneijder makes his return, he will likely play in the hole behind strikers Diego Milito and Samuel Eto’o. If not, then Dejan Stankovic will fill into the playmaker position.

Possible formation (4-3-1-2): Julio Cesar; Maicon, Lucio, Samuel, Santon; Zanetti, Cambiasso, Stankovic; Sneijder; Eto’o, Milito.


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Andriy Shevchenko (Dynamo Kiev)


Italian commentators remarked that Shevchenko looked like the player he was four years ago in the match against Inter a fortnight ago. It seems there is something about Inter that makes the former Ballon d’Or winner always give a little something extra against them. During his time at Milan, he was the nightmare of the Nerazzurri faithful as he rarely failed to score in derbies. While his return to Kiev after three troubled years at Chelsea (though last season he was loaned back to Milan) signalled that the 33-year-old’s career is nearing its end, on his day he can still be decisive.

Diego Milito (Inter)

Although he only made his return from injury in the match against Palermo, in which he came on as a sub, the 30-year-old striker has already scored a couple of vital goals for Inter since then, the first against the Rosanero, and the other one last weekend to open the score against Livorno. So far he has been the Nerazzurri’s most prolific striker, somewhat overshadowing fellow new arrival Eto’o, with seven goals scored in Serie A until now. This could be the right night for him to score his first Champions League goal for the club as well.


PREDICTION

It will be a long night for Inter fans, but they might end up cheering in the end as a victory is absolutely vital in this match.

Dynamo Kiev 1-2 Inter

Danilo Pochini, Goal.com