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FC Dynamo Kyiv shrugged off the weather and an obstinate ten-man AS Roma side to go top of UEFA Champions League Group B following two late goals at a snow-swept Valery Lobanovskiy stadium.
Roma defender Traianos Dellas headed into his own net after 72 minutes before Maxim Shatskikh doubled the lead ten minutes later. Real Madrid CF’s draw with Bayer 04 Leverkusen means Dynamo only need to draw with the German side to reach the knockout stages.
The late strikes were cruel luck on Roma goalkeeper Ivan Pelizzoli, defiant in his short-sleeved shirt, who had made two world-class saves in the second half. But he could do nothing to stop Dellas diving low to deflect Tiberiu Ghioane’s cross from the right wing into his own net – and even less to prevent Shatskikh scoring his 100th goal in Dynamo colours.
The omens had not favoured Roma: the Italian side went into the game without eight first-team players, including key men Daniele De Rossi, Olivier Dacourt, Vincenzo Montella and Francesco Totti. To make matters worse, the temperature in Kiev was below freezing and snow continued to fall throughout the match, getting worse as it went on.
The weather seemed to have no effect on the players early on, as Roma’s solid defensive line matched Dynamo’s crisp passing in midfield. But chances were few and far between: Diogo Rincón’s glancing header just wide from eight metres out after Oleh Gusev's corner was the only opportunity in the first half-hour.
Dynamo coped better with the worsening conditions and dominated the latter stages of the half. Roma were indebted to two excellent pieces of defending from Matteo Ferrari, who cleared off the toes of Maris Verpakovskis and then Kleber before either of them could shoot. Roma had their only effort of the half when a moment of genius from Antonio Cassano released Luigi Sartor down the right. Alberto Aquilani met his cross in the area, controlling the ball on his chest and hitting an overhead kick narrowly wide of goal. Like the first half, it had intent but the technique was just lacking.
Dynamo came close to scoring within a minute of the restart, but Giuseppe Scurto was alert to lunge in to block Gusev’s goalbound effort after Diogo Rincón had knocked down Ghioane’s cross from the right. With Dynamo streaming forward, Roma coach Luigi Del Neri changed things and replaced the limping forward Mido with midfield player Gaetano D’Agostino, pushing Cassano higher up the pitch into attack.
The change galvanised Dynamo, though, and they pushed forward and almost took the lead after the hour-mark. The dangerous Verpakovskis thought he had scored when he toe-poked the ball just two metres from goal but Pelizzoli dived full-length to deflect the ball over the top. From the subsequent corner, the Roma goalkeeper made another miraculous save, diving high to his left to punch away a fierce Andrii Husin strike from five metres out.
Only minutes later, Dellas had unwittingly broken the deadlock. Suddenly Roma’s backline, which has not kept a clean sheet in Europe since February 2003, looked shaky. Scurto felled Kleber, just after the Brazilian had wasted a chance to double the lead, to earn himself a second yellow card and reduce Roma to ten men.
Dynamo sealed the win eight minutes from time when Diogo Rincón beat Candela and crossed for Shatskikh to tap in and keep Dynamo’s first-knockout round dreams intact. Roma face Madrid on Matchday 6 knowing their European adventure is over for another season.
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