FC Dynamo Kyiv and FC Metalist Kharkiv will continue their domestic rivalry on the European front after setting up a meeting in the last 16 of the UEFA Cup on Thursday.
Six points clear of their upcoming opponents at the top of the Ukrainian Premier League, Dynamo saw off Valencia CF 3-3 on aggregate thanks to a 2-2 draw in Spain, with both goals coming from 19-year-old Artem Kravets. "I've been telling everyone for a long time that he's one of the brightest talents in Ukraine," commented Kyiv coach Yuri Semin. "Valencia were the toughest team we could have got, but now we're happy. It's as if the luck we lacked in the UEFA Champions League group stage has returned."
Despite his goals, Kravets was keen to share the credit for the result. "The whole team was phenomenal," he said. "Especially the midfielders, who did a massive amount of work. I don't think I'm the hero of the match. I always felt the presence of partners who helped me a lot." Now Dynamo will face Metalist and the players are already excited. "We've already had a laugh together about having to get back from the UEFA Cup for [mid-season friendlies]," said Dynamo defender Andriy Nesmachniy. "All the teams form Russia and Ukraine are continuing their European quests and we have to face Metalist while FC Shakhtar Donetsk will face PFC CSKA Moskva."
Metalist enjoyed an even more convincing result, beating UC Sampdoria 2-0 at home to secure a 3-0 overall win. "As predicted, the match was tough," said coach Myron Markevich. "Only now will we start talking about the Dynamo game, but we won't be forgetting the start of the second half of the domestic league [against Dynamo on 4 March]." Attacking midfielder Edmar added: "Who could have predicted that we'd reach the last 16? It's even more pleasing that we'll meet Dynamo, though we'll start thinking about them later. Now we'll just celebrate our emphatic win over Sampdoria." The two rivals will commence their tussle for a quarter-final spot in Kiev on 12 March, ahead of the return leg on 18/19 March.
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