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With two of SC Braga's domestic rivals all but through to the UEFA Europa League semi-finals, Domingos Paciência is hoping his side can contribute to a hat-trick of potential Portuguese celebrations by eliminating FC Dynamo Kyiv.
While FC Porto and SL Benfica recorded handsome home wins in the first leg of their last-eight ties − 5-1 and 4-1 respectively against FC Spartak Moskva and PSV Eindhoven − the Arsenalistas drew 1-1 in Ukraine. Should the top three in the Liga progress, Paciência knows it would be a considerable boost for Portuguese football.
"It is important to have three teams in this phase of the Europa League," said Paciência, whose charges could play Benfica in the next round in what would be the first meeting of Portuguese sides in a UEFA club competition tie.
"At the moment we are in the most fragile position," he added. "Respect for our opponents, motivation and remembering what is at stake − which is not only our position, but the country's reputation as well − will assume most importance when looking at this match."
With an away goal in the bank, Paciência dismissed suggestions that his team might be tempted to play a containing game. "We will not play to get a goalless draw," he said. "Each team we play requires a different strategy. We're playing at home, with our fans supporting us and knowing that 0-0 is enough, but our main goal remains: to be in the next phase."
Having conceded Oleh Gusev's own goal last week, Dynamo coach Yuri Semin knows the Ukrainian outfit are the underdogs. "Braga are favourites, for sure," he said. "We are well prepared and there is a very good atmosphere in the dressing room. Braga are playing very well. We are expecting our fans that live in Portugal to come to the match."
Dynamo played the last 28 minutes of the first leg with ten men after half-time substitute Andriy Shevchenko was sent off for receiving two bookings in quick succession. "That game was very difficult, and we prepared this match by taking that into consideration," added Semin, who is in his second spell in charge. "We're all ready to play except for Shevchenko."
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