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Dogged Dnipro undo Utrecht

Published: Thursday 4 November 2004, 21.51CET
FC Utrecht 1-2 FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk Hard-working Dnipro move three points clear in Group C.
Published: Thursday 4 November 2004, 21.51CET

Dogged Dnipro undo Utrecht

FC Utrecht 1-2 FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk Hard-working Dnipro move three points clear in Group C.

By Jan Kerkhof at Nieuw Galgenwaard stadium

FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk kept up their impressive start to UEFA Cup Group C with victory in the Netherlands against FC Utrecht.

Craft and graft
The Ukrainian side had come from behind to edge past Belgian side Club Brugge KV 3-2 on Matchday 1 and showed the same blend of craft and graft on their way to collecting another precious three points here.

Rotan opener
Utrecht, clearly wary of Dnipro's reputation as a fine counterattacking side, began cautiously, but were soon behind. Ruslan Rotan breached the Dutch side's defence in the eleventh minute, expertly placing the ball past goalkeeper René Ponk.

Missed opportunity
That strike encouraged the home team to be more positive and Utrecht circulated the ball well in midfield, probing for chances. The tactics gradually paid dividends and led to the home team's best opportunity of the first half with a free-kick right outside the box, defender Edson Braafheid missing the target late in the period.

Semochko decider
Utrecht continued to press at the outset of the second half. They dominated for long spells - but their efforts were to go unrewarded and Dnipro conformed to type by striking on the counter - the source of Dmytro Semochko's well-taken 83rd-minute goal.

Douglas consolation
Midfield player Darl Douglas managed to pull a goal back for Utrecht in the final stages with a powerfully-struck effort from distance and the home team thrusted forward in search of an equaliser.

Victory secure
But Dnipro held out and are now three points clear of second-placed FK Austria Wien, who they play next, while Utrecht are bottom after defeats in their opening two games and now need a result against Brugge on 25 November.

Last updated: 05/11/04 10.02CET