FC Dynamo Kyiv won the Ukrainian title on Sunday with a 3-2 victory at SC Tavriya Simferopol, but coach Yuri Semin admitted that defeat in the UEFA Cup semi-finals last week had put "a weight" on his side's shoulders.
Three days after a 2-1 loss against FC Shakhtar Donetsk cost them a place in this season's UEFA Cup final, the capital side took revenge of a sort by beating Tavriya to wrest the title back from rivals Shakhtar, who they face again in a Ukrainian Cup semi-final on Wednesday. Dynamo twice went behind against Tavriya, but recovered with Oleksandr Aliyev's added-time free-kick clinching the title.
"I want to thank our fans who came here in great numbers in spite of our defeat in Donetsk," said Russian coach Semin, triumphant in his first full season at the club. "We conceded some unexpected goals today and did not play well but there were reasons for that. It was hard to motivate the players after our exit from the UEFA Cup but I want to congratulate everyone at Dynamo for our title. The season is not over. We have another derby with Shakhtar on Wednesday and we are taking it very seriously."
The 26th title in Dynamo's 82-year history, and their 13th since the collapse of the former Soviet Union, was secured with three games of the season remaining, Dynamo having won 23 of their 27 matches so far. "None of them were easy, but we did not have any lengthy downturns in form either. We also scored 65 goals, more than any other team," said Semin, adding with a smile: "We hardly played a game with a full-strength squad and still managed to win the title." Aliyev is Dynamo's top scorer with 13 league goals, only one shy of the season's top marksman, Tavriya's Oleksandr Kovpak. "I will try to score again and again, but the main thing for me is the title and qualifying for the UEFA Champions League." he said.
Upwards and onwards
Semin, meanwhile, is hoping to make 2009/10 even more successful. "We saw many good things this season, but our misfire in the UEFA Cup semi-final put a weight on our shoulders," he said. "It has forced us to start looking for new solutions, because Dynamo cannot stand still. We have to move forward. We will try to correct our mistakes."
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