C.S. Maritimo vs Dynamo Kyiv – Thursday 20:30 BT / 21:30 CET at Estádio do Maritímo, Funchal
Though they are a single step away from the group stage of the Europa League, Dynamo Kyiv’s participation in this competition is already a disappointment.
Before the start of the season, many Dynamo fans would have been content with a Europa League spot. But expectations suddenly soared following a rare league victory over Shakhtar and a 3-1 defeat of Swiss side Young Boys in the first leg of their Champions League qualifier.
These expectations rapidly came crashing down in the second leg, however, as the Ukrainian side put in a listless performance and were knocked out after a 2-0 defeat, ultimately sunk by a last minute Young Boys goal. A scoreless draw in the league against Vorskla Poltava four days later dampened the mood in Kyiv even further.
As it stands, a victory in the upcoming two-leg tie against the Portuguese side C.S. Marítimo is essential to salvage Dynamo’s European campaign and, to an extent, the season as a whole. Elimination from Europe in August would be disastrous and would amp up the pressure on newly appointed manager Alyaksandr Khatskevich, who has yet to win over many of the Dynamo faithful.
Dynamo’s opponents Marítimo finished sixth in last year’s Primeira Liga and entered the Europa League at the third qualifying stage. After a 2-0 aggregate victory over Botev Plovdiv of Bulgaria, they were drawn against Dynamo in the playoff round, the final hurdle before the group stage.
Despite their inconsistent start, spirits at Dynamo have been slightly lifted by a 3-0 victory over Zirka Kropyvnytskyi at the weekend. All three goals came in the second half after an interesting tactical switch by Khatskevich – central defender Yevhen Khacheridi was replaced by attacking midfielder Denys Harmash, signalling a more adventurous approach. While it is unlikely that Khatskevich will put out such an attacking side from the beginning on Thursday, it is refreshing to see him implement consequential tactical changes when his side is struggling to break through.
The convincing display against Zirka was a much-needed confidence-booster for Dynamo. On paper, they have enough attacking talent to overcome Marítimo, and an away goal in Funchal will be vital for their hopes of progression.
C.S. Maritimo vs Dynamo Kyiv – 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 provides a perfect example of what he brings to the pitch.
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.
C.S. Maritimo vs Dynamo Kyiv – Match Stats
- This will be the first meeting 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: C.S. Maritimo vs Dynamo Kyiv 0-1
Maritimo vs Dynamo Kyiv – Possible lineups
Charles – Martins, Pablo Santos, Junior, Bebeto – Sen – Ricardo Valente, Eber Bessa, Gamboa, Costa – Pinho
Manager: Daniel Ramos
Koval – Kendera, Khacheridi, Kadar, Morozyuk – Yarmolenko, Sydorchuk, Shepelev, González – Harmash – Mbokani
Manager: Alyaksandr Khatskevich
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.