It was a bittersweet return to the Giuseppe Meazza Stadium for Andriy Shevchenko on Tuesday after FC Dynamo Kyiv let a lead slip twice before drawing 2-2 with FC Internazionale Milano in Group F.
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It was a bittersweet return to the Giuseppe Meazza stadium for Andriy Shevchenko after FC Dynamo Kyiv twice let a lead slip before coming away with a point in a 2-2 draw against FC Internazionale Milano in Group F of the UEFA Champions League.
In a determined display, the former AC Milan striker was centimetres wide with a header in the first half and then had a glorious chance to grab the winner late in the game when one-on-one with goalkeeper Júlio César, but was unable to add to the 14 goals he has so far scored in his career against Inter. "The ball bobbled at the last second," the forward said. "I saw exactly what happened and the ball bobbled three times when I tried to shoot."
It would have been a storybook ending to Shevchenko's return to San Siro. Earlier, goals from Dejan Stanković (35) and Walter Samuel (47) had cancelled out efforts from Dynamo's Taras Mikhalik (5) and a Lucio own goal (40). But, ultimately, the Ukraine captain felt content with the way things had gone. "We played against a great team and we played really really well," Shevchenko said. "We tried to win and had lots of chances, but it was a fair result." Finding time to speak to Italian reporters as well as Ukrainian, the 33-year-old described his return as "bellissimo". "There's so some much emotion in this stadium," he added. "I have so many happy memories here so it's always great to come back."
Suffer and fight
Dynamo now sit on four points alongside FC Barcelona and FC Rubin Kazan with Inter just one behind at the halfway stage of a tighter than expected Group F. Nerazzurri coach José Mourinho has already called his charges' return in a fortnight "the match of their lives" and Shevchenko did not disagree with his former Chelsea FC boss. "It's going to be the game of our lives as well," he replied when told of Mourinho's statement. "I don't know if it will be easier for us or if it will be more difficult for Inter, but I think this group will go down to the wire. We are going to have to fight."
Along with his 47 goals in 97 UEFA Champions League matches, Shevchenko scored the winning penalty in the 2002/03 final, an all-Italian affair between Milan and Juventus. However, he acknowledged that Serie A sides were now struggling to emulate past feats. "I do think Italian football has lost a lot of ground. It's not enjoying a good period, but I hope it can recover because it is one of the top leagues," he said. That recovery may be further delayed, though, if Inter's bogeyman can add to his tally against them in two weeks' time.