Manuel Veth –
Futbolgrad’s Champions League roundup from matchday 4 focuses on Dynamo Kyiv’s performance in Europe, and the club’s fans who now, off the pitch, have now added to the miserable showing. Also read CSKA Moscow continues to disappoint, and Sardar Azmoun is being scouted by Borussia Dortmund, and Liverpool FC.
Dynamo went into the match needing a victory in order to keep their Champions League hopes alive. Going into matchday 4, Dynamo had only managed one point out of the first three games and, after losing 2-0 against Benfica at home two weeks ago, Dynamo desperately needed three points if their ambition to reach the round of 16 of the Champions League was to survive.
Before the match kicked off, however, it was Dynamo fans who made headlines, sadly, for all the wrong reasons. Videos recorded, and later shown on the Ukrainian channel TSN show Dynamo fans clashing with Benfica supporters before the match.
The incident will add to the growing list of fan incidents that involve Dynamo fans in UEFA competitions. In the past, Dynamo were issued fines and partial stadium bans due to the presence of neo-Nazi symbols in the stands during their Europa League matches—against Bordeaux in 2013 and against Everton in the 2014-15 season.
Nor is this the first time that Dynamo fans have been in the spotlight in and around Champions League matches. Last season, Dynamo fans were caught on camera beating up several black spectators inside the Olimpiyskiy Stadium. Following the incident, Dynamo was issued a stadium ban by UEFA for the group stage match against Maccabi Tel Aviv, and the round of 16 match against Manchester City, but the ban was later shortened to just include the match against Maccabi.
UEFA largely ignores events that take place outside stadiums
The European Championships in France, where fans of Russia and England clashed outside the stadium, showcased in particular that UEFA tends to only punish fans if they misbehave inside the stadium. It is, therefore, unlikely that UEFA will further investigate Dynamo for the incidents that took place before the match on Tuesday.
In any case, Dynamo lost the match to Benfica 1-0, which means that no action by UEFA will be necessary, as Dynamo are likely to have just two matches in Europe left this season. After matchday 4, Dynamo are fourth in Group B with just one point, and five points behind Beşiktaş.
The match was actually a relatively even affair, but a penalty just before stoppage time put Benfica, ahead, and then in 69th minute, Benfica’s Ederson saved a penalty by Júnior Moraes. Moraes was later distraught about his missed opportunity: “I am very upset that I missed the penalty. I will work on further training to improve your game. However, sometimes we were able to show good football.”
— FC Dynamo English (@dynamokyiven) November 2, 2016
But just good football won’t be enough for Dynamo in the last two group matches, as they now need to win against Napoli in Italy to set up a final against Beşiktaş at home at the Olimpiyskiy Stadium on matchday 6. Their recent form, both in the domestic Ukrainian Premier League and in the Champions League, make this unlikely, however.
With Dynamo effectively out of the Champions League, and eight points off Ukrainian Premier League leaders, further questions will be asked about head coach Serhiy Rebrov.
Champions League Roundup – Talking Points
- We continue our Champions League roundup with CSKA Moscow, who continued their poor run of form with a thumping 3-0 defeat to AS Monaco. Slutsky had gambled a bit before the match by starting Carlos Strandberg instead of Lacina Traoré up front, and Aleksei Berezutski instead of his twin brother Vasili Berezutski. But the changes did little to change the club’s fortune. Defense, in particular, remains a major problem for the club, as a twin brother Aleksei Berezutski shares many of his brothers traits, one of which is lack of speed. A very good Monaco side, in particular, exploited this failing on Wednesday night. Monaco’s Valere Germain scored in the 13th minute, before the Colombian striker, Radamel Falcao, scored twice in 29th minute and the 41st Both goals were showcases for what is going wrong at CSKA at the moment, as Falcao was completely left alone when he scored his first goal, and then easily outpaced Berezutski when he scored his second.
- To date, Akinfeev has not kept a clean sheet for 41 straight matches in the Champions League—a record that stretches over 10 years, as his last clean sheet came on November 1, 2006 in a 0-0 draw against Arsenal.
- Sardar Azmoun almost became the hero for FC Rostov on Tuesday night, when the Iranian scored his first-ever Champions League goal against Atlético Madrid. The Iranian made it 1-1 on that night, and set up Rostov for a minor miracle, as the Russians looked like they could pick up a point in Madrid. Antoine Griezmann’s extra time goal in the 94th minute, however, broke the hearts of the Rostov fans, as the Russian club are now eliminated from the Champions League—the Russians can, however, still qualify for the round of 32 of the Europa League. Both Borussia Dortmund, and Liverpool FC, however, scouted Azmoun, last night, and while Rostov are unlikely to feature in the Champions League next season, Azmoun could very well be in the competition once again (you can read his profile here).
- Dinamo Zagreb, and Ludogorets Razgrad, meanwhile, remain without a win in the group stage of the Champions League this season. While Dinamo have been eliminated, Ludogorets have only one point but are even on points with FC Basel, and could therefore still advance to the round of the 32 of the Europa League.
Manuel Veth is a freelance journalist and a writer for Bundesliga.com. He is also a holder of a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States”, which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @homosovieticus.