Maxym Kalynychenko is on a roll and he is keen to see it continue all the way to the UEFA Cup final in Glasgow this May.
The FC Spartak Moskva midfielder has found the net three times in as many European fixtures. First his UEFA Champions League goals helped Spartak to draw 2-2 against FC Bayern München at home and to defeat Sporting Clube de Portugal 3-1 in Lisbon. That ensured the club a place in the UEFA Cup Round of 32 and it was his free-kick equaliser against RC Celta de Vigo last night that ensured a 1-1 draw before next Thursday's return in Spain.
Despite conceding an away goal and not taking a first-leg lead from the Luzhniki Stadium, Kalynychenko remains confident. "I believe our chances to go through are 50-50," he said. "We were close to victory tonight but on the other hand we could have lost it at the very end. We were expecting a tough game and we got it. I think it will be easier for us in Vigo where Celta play more open football."
Before this season, Kalynychenko had amassed plenty of experience having played 26 matches in Europe for Spartak since 2000 but his scoring tally was quite modest - just two goals. Both came in 2003/04 UEFA Cup games against Esbjerg IF and FC Dinamo 1948 Bucuresti. He has certainly discovered a taste for the big occasion though, impressing for Ukraine at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, and scoring a group-stage goal against Saudi Arabia, before taking that form into the UEFA Champions League.
During the winter, talk of Kalynychenko moving to Ukraine, France or England emerged now and then, but the speculation came to nothing. He remains a Spartak player ahead of the 2007 league season, although another international goal as Ukraine drew 1-1 with Israel in a friendly last week will do his reputation no harm. A versatile performer with an eye for goal, reaching his peak at 28, Kalynychenko is one to keep an eye on.
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