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FC Dynamo Kyiv are still just a goal away from eliminating SC Braga according to midfielder Ognjen Vukojević after his side were held 1-1 at home by the Portuguese visitors.
Dynamo had the better of the UEFA Europa League quarter-final first leg but after Andriy Yarmolenko's sixth-minute opener was soon cancelled out by Oleh Gusev's own goal, the Ukrainian club could not restore their advantage – and had half-time substitute Andriy Shevchenko dismissed on the hour. However, two years ago in the round of 32 Dynamo were held 1-1 at home by Valencia CF only to draw 2-2 in Spain and progress, leading Vukojević to think something similar could happen this time.
"We only need to score once in Braga," the 27-year-old Croatian international said. "Tonight we squandered three or four great chances to score another goal and Braga just had one small opportunity, which they took. Two years ago we played Valencia, who at that time were three times stronger than Braga today, and managed to score two away goals after a similar 1-1 draw in Ukraine. The chances are 50-50 and it will be all to play for next week in Portugal."
His team-mate Goran Popov was also satisfied with the result. "One-all is not a bad outcome at all, especially after playing the last half-hour a man short after the red card for Shevchenko," the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia defender said. "We are very confident we have the ability to score at least once in Portugal and everything will be fine for us.
"We could have scored four and it's a pity that such gifted players as Yarmolenko and Gusev only took one opportunity. Artem Kravets also had two superb chances, but their goalkeeper [Artur] was very good, especially when he saved Kravets's header."
The positive mood was certainly shared by last autumn's UEFA Champions League contenders Braga, who are already enjoying a best-ever European campaign. Midfielder Hugo Viana, who went all the way to the UEFA Cup final with Sporting Clube de Portugal in 2005, was pleased with Braga's position as they look to set up a semi-final against SL Benfica, who won their first leg 4-1 against PSV Eindhoven.
"We are very confident ahead of the second game," the 28-year-old former Portugal player said. "We will be at home, having scored an away goal. We had a difficult time in the first half, yet the second half was easier because of the sending-off. We can perform better at home and we hope to go through. Next week's match is going to be tough for both teams, but if we get to the semi-finals we would make history for our club."
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