Dynamo Kyiv vs Maritimo – Thursday 17:45 BT / 18:45 CET at NSC Olimpiyskiy, Kyiv
Having failed to break the deadlock during the first leg in Madeira last week, Dynamo Kyiv now need nothing less than a victory at home on Thursday to ensure passage to the Europa League group stage.
Should the unthinkable happen and Dynamo fail to get the needed result, this will be the first since the 2005-06 season that they do not take part in the group stage of either of Europe’s two premier club competitions. This will put immense pressure on manager Alyaksandr Khatskevich, just two months after he was hired to take the place of the departed Serhiy Rebrov.
Despite the 0-0 draw last Thursday, it is too early for doomsday predictions. Dynamo outclassed their Portuguese opponents, who are one of the best defensive units in the Primeira Liga. Last season, only the top two of Benfica and Porto conceded fewer goals. Thus, there is no surprise that they had difficulties breaking down Maritímo’s sturdy defensive line. The abysmal state of the pitch should also be taken into consideration before sounding the alarm bells at Dynamo’s display.
The result, while far from disastrous, leaves Dynamo in a tricky spot going into Thursday’s decisive encounter. Dynamo suffered a complete collapse in the second leg against Young Boys in the second leg of their Champions League qualifier, and the specter of a second European disappointment in the space of three weeks will weigh heavily on Khatskevich’s men.
Moreover, the absence of Yevhen Khacheridi due to suspension – the center back was sent off in the first leg – is a potential vulnerability for Dynamo, especially given that Domagoj Vida may be on the verge of a move to Turkey.
Nevertheless, it is difficult to argue that Dynamo are a class above their opponents, and should be able to make the necessary breakthrough at home.
Dynamo Kyiv vs Maritimo – Player to look out for:
Denys Harmash #19 – Dynamo Kyiv
The default answer to these questions for Dynamo is usually Andriy Yarmolenko, the talented winger who is the perennial subject of transfer speculation. But under Khatksevich’s newly implemented 4-4-1-1 system, Denys Harmash has taken a more pivotal role, one that is central to Dynamo’s success. Playing just behind striker Dieumerci Mbokani, who returned from two years of loan spells in England this summer – Harmsah provides the crucial link between midfield and attack. His assist for Mbokani’s first goal against Zirka two weeks ago provides a perfect example of what he brings to the pitch. His fiery temperament, however, is often his own worst enemy.
Edgar Costa #12 – Maritímo
Edgar Costa is the captain of the Portuguese side. The 30-year-old winger is one of the more experienced players and a capable player on the right side of the pitch. Costa joined Maritímo in 2014 from CD Nacional and while his numbers were not impressive—one goal and six assists—his work rate is outstanding in what is a team that defines itself through hard work rather than flashy play.
Dynamo Kyiv vs Maritimo – Match Stats
- Last Thursday’s meeting was the first between the two clubs, and the first time Marítimo have ever come up against Ukrainian opposition
- Dynamo, on the other hand, has plenty of experience against clubs from Portugal. In twenty matches, the Kyiv club have won six, drawn four, and lost ten against Portuguese teams. Most recently, Dynamo lost both their encounters against Benfica in last year’s Champions League group stage.
- Marítimo’s best result in Europe is an appearance in the group stage of the Europa League in 2012-13, where they finished third and failed to qualify for the next round. Dynamo were semifinalists in 2008-09 in the UEFA Cup, the predecessor of the Europa League, but their European pedigree also includes two UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup titles and a run to the semifinals of the 1998-99 Champions League.
Futbolgrad’s Prediction: Dynamo Kyiv vs Maritimo 2-0
Dynamo Kyiv vs Maritimo – Possible lineup:
Koval – Kendera, Vida, Kadar, Morozyuk – Yarmolenko, Sydorchuk, Buyalskyi, González – Harmash – Mbokani
Manager: Alyaksandr Khatskevich
Charles – Martins, Pablo Santos, Junior, Bebeto – Sen – Ricardo Valente, Eber Bessa, Gamboa, Costa – Pinho
Manager: Daniel Ramos
Vadim Furmanov is a recent graduate of the University of Chicago with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. Originally from Ukraine, Vadim has resided in Chicago since 1994 and is a passionate supporter of both Dynamo Kyiv and the Ukrainian national team. He is also a Chicago Fire season ticket holder and a member of the Fire’s Section 8 supporters group. He writes primarily about Ukrainian football, as well as the intersection between football, politics, and history. You can follow Vadim on Twitter @vfurmanov.