Delighted FC Shakhtar Donetsk coach Mircea Lucescu said his charges had written their place in European football history after a 2-1 victory against rivals FC Dynamo Kyiv assured them of place in the Istanbul showpiece.
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Delighted FC Shakhtar Donetsk coach Mircea Lucescu said his side had written their place in the history of European football after a 2-1 victory against rivals FC Dynamo Kyiv assured them of a 3-2 aggregate victory and a place in the UEFA Cup final. Jadson had put Shakhtar ahead on the night and though Ismaël Bangoura drew Dynamo level two minutes after the restart, Ilsinho's last-minute strike confirmed that Shakhtar will be Ukraine's first UEFA Cup finalists in Istanbul, where they will meet Werder Bremen. Dynamo coach Yuri Semin, meanwhile, bemoaned costly mistakes, but wished Shakhtar good luck in the final.
Mircea Lucescu, Shakhtar coach
We achieved something great today. We are now a part of the history of European football. The fact we will play in Istanbul means so much for us. It was a tough game as Dynamo were at their best as well. Having drawn the first leg, tonight we tried to close down the space and managed to do it. We made just one mistake when, because of [Mykola] Ischenko's inexperience, we lost sight of Bangoura. The result is just and deserved. The level of football corresponded to the high status of a UEFA Cup semi-final. The fans were treated to both a show and a battle. We still have games to play against Dynamo [domestically] and that's good because they are always interesting and improve the level of the Ukrainian league. Both teams are quite young and I'm sure they will continue to perform well in Europe in the future.
Ilsinho had cramp – I needed to substitute him, but I had a feeling he had not said his last word. Sometimes emotions win over sense. It was the case tonight. [Shakhtar president] Rinat Akhmetov is very happy. He did not see the closing stages and I believe he will watch the replay twice tonight. I'm confident our players are ready to play twice a week, no problem; motivation is incredibly high. Now the most important thing is not to work the team too hard but to let them recover. We must earn points [in the league] to claim second place and play in the Champions League [next season]. If we do not qualify for the Champions League there will be no sense in qualifying for the UEFA Cup final.
Yuri Semin, Dynamo coach
First of all I would like to congratulate Shakhtar on their victory and wish them good luck in the final. To my mind, it was an interesting and exciting match just as a UEFA Cup semi-final should be. We made two mistakes while Shakhtar made none. That is why we lost tonight. Everyone [from Dynamo] who was on the pitch today has something to reproach himself for. But there was nothing wrong with the level of commitment from my players. They prepared well and looked good physically, but we also have to remember that Shakhtar are a very strong side. It was a game of two equal rivals and we lost out.