FC Dynamo Kyiv's players paid tribute to new coach Oleh Blokhin after getting off the mark in UEFA Champions League Group A with a 2-0 home win against GNK Dinamo Zagreb. The former Ukraine coach returned last week to the club where he made his name and immediately helped secure their first group stage victory since 2009, with Josip Pivarić's own goal completing a grim night for the Croatian champions.
Oleh Gusev, Dynamo Kyiv midfielder
The opening minutes were great for us as we scored an early goal and had several other chances. Later it became more even: they controlled the midfield more but we had more opportunities on the counterattack. That's why I think we deserved this win. We really wanted to please our fans who have been waiting for us to win. We hadn't won in the Champions League for a long time, and it happens to coincide with our new coach's debut in the tournament.
The coach warned us at half-time not to relax because of our two-goal lead, but I think we instinctively slowed down a bit. However, Zagreb didn't want to lose and tried to play with more aggression after the interval, so we had a hard time at the beginning of the second half. But after a few good counterattacks we calmed down.
This victory will boost our confidence. We have a big league game at Dnipro [Dnipropetrovsk on Sunday] and hope to succeed there as well. And then we travel to Porto on matchday three, when we will need to get some points. I didn't expect that FC Porto would beat PSG but that's football, and now the competition in our group becomes even more interesting.
Ognjen Vukojević, Dynamo Kyiv midfielder
Dynamo controlled the game in the first half and scored two goals. Our opponents had only one good counterattack before the break. In the second half Gusev, [Andriy] Yarmolenko and [Ideye] Brown missed some great opportunities while Zagreb had almost nothing. So it's obvious that we should have won by a much bigger margin. But I'm glad we got three points and played good football.
I think everyone can already see Blokhin's impact on the team.
He studied Dinamo very well and said before the game that we had to play more down the flanks. And he was absolutely right as we scored both goals after crosses from the wings. The coach understands everything and explains it very clearly.
Josip Šimunić, Dinamo Zagreb defender
I think there were a lot of good things but also a lot of bad things. We must play a lot better. We have played against Porto and Dynamo Kyiv, both very good teams. I think Porto are a little bit better but Dynamo have had problems in the last few weeks, and I think by the next game with the new coach they will be much stronger.
Our plan was to keep Dynamo out for as long as possible, and then hope they would lose their composure, but they scored in the third minute and that spoiled everything. After the first half our coach was telling us we had to play more football and believe we could score a goal. We had a few chances but we didn't do anything.
Of course, when we lose games, I'm disappointed. The problem is not losing but the way we lose. I think we don't believe that we can win and that's why we didn't do anything.
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