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He may have passed up several chances to mark his first UEFA Champions League appearance for FC Dynamo Kyiv in more than a decade with a goal, but for Andriy Shevchenko the 3-1 win against FC Rubin Kazan was the most important thing with the striker paying tribute to his side's "big desire".
Wearing Dynamo's shirt in Europe's premier club competition for the first time since April 1999, Shevchenko was unfortunate not to convert a close-range volley while Christian Noboa cleared his dangerous free-kick – although he did have a hand in Gérson Magrão's goal that gave the Ukrainian champions a 2-1 lead. "I enjoy playing for the team a lot so Dynamo's result is all that matters for me," said the 32-year-old striker. "If I score then it is good, but if I do not, I do not care as long as my team is OK. I am very happy we won."
Starved of success
With FC Internazionale Milano and FC Barcelona sharing a goalless draw at San Siro, Dynamo hold the early initiative in Group F as they look to progress to the knockout stages for the first time since 1998/99 – Shevchenko's last season before departing for AC Milan. "To tell you the truth, I was a bit nervous because the last time I played for Dynamo in the Champions League was ten years ago," he admitted. "It was very important for us to win our first match at home because we have a very tough group. We need to get maximum points at home if we want to make it to the first knockout round."
Dynamo's spirited comeback after the shock of falling behind to Alejandro Domínguez's 25th-minute free-kick certainly bodes well for their prospects, with Ayila Yussuf, Magrão and substitute Oleh Gusev all finding the net in the final 19 minutes to turn the game around. "Rubin defended with skill and scored, so we struggled in the first half," Shevchenko acknowledged. "After the break we changed our game. We started to move more and began to tackle them in the middle of the pitch and that created more chances to attack down the wings. That, together with our skill and big desire, allowed us to win.
"We made it tighter for them in the middle of the pitch and prevented Rubin from switching play from defence to attack," he added. "Both defenders and midfielders got closer to their men and that allowed us to counterattack. We improved a great deal after the break, Rubin played to keep their advantage and could not change how the game went when we gained the momentum. After we scored two goals in quick succession it was very difficult for them to change anything. We deserved our victory."
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