Goals from Dmytro Mykhailenko, Olexandr Rykunon and Oleg Venhlinskyy ensured FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk defeated Hamburger SV 3-0 at the Meteor stadium on Wednesday, reaching the UEFA Cup second-round courtesy of a 4-2 aggregate win.
Dnipro had lost the first-leg match 2-1 but their vital away goal - a header by Venhlinskyy - had given them plenty of encouragement, despite the fact Ukraine goalkeeper Mykola Medin was injured and needed to be replaced by second choice custodian Artem Kusliy. An ankle blow ruled out Hamburg midfield player Alex Meier while a knee problem sidelined Czech defender Milan Fukal.
Kurt Jara's side went into the game on the back of a 2-1 win against VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach and began the match confidently enough, retaining possession effectively. The early calm, however, was shattered when Mykhailenko gave his side the lead in the seventh minute against the run of play. Situated behind a clutch of Hamburg defenders, he latched on to a nod-down from Ruslan Rotan's left-wing corner with his back to goal and hooked in his shot.
The same player went desperately close to doubling the advantage in the 25th minute, his powerful downward header forcing a brilliant save from goalkeeper Martin Pieckenhagen. The visitors, however, were far from overawed by the early setback, opening channels through the midfield and using the flanks purposefully.
Nevertheless, for all their domination, Hamburg struggled to create clear opportunities and the Dnipro shot-stopper was a virtual bystander until he was forced to charge off his line to gather a whipped-in ball in the 42nd minute. A strike from distance from Marcel Maltritz crept past the edge of the far post soon after – but it was one of few noteworthy efforts.
The match took on a different complexion after the break as Hamburg were increasingly stretched by their marauding hosts. Iranian midfield player Mehdi Mahdavikia's flicked-on header represented their best chance in the 61st minute. Their task became even more formidable when Olexandr Rykunon increased the advantage eight minutes later, guiding the ball into the top corner after he was picked out with a cultured pass from the impressive Rotan.
If that did not leave the German team thoroughly dejected, then Venhlinskyy's second goal of the tie certainly did. He dismissed any lingering doubt about the result, trapping a long ball over the top with his left foot and slamming it into the roof of the net with his right.