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Dnipro too strong for debutants Pandurii

CS Pandurii Târgu Jiu 0-1 FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk
Ruslan Rotan's goal seven minutes before the break proved sufficient for the visitors to register an opening victory in Group E.

Ruslan Rotan enjoys his winner for Dnipro
Ruslan Rotan enjoys his winner for Dnipro ©AFP/Getty Images

FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk are up and running in UEFA Europa League Group E after easing past debutants CS Pandurii Târgu Jiu.

Juande Ramos' charges, embarking on their fourth group stage campaign, bristled with intent from the off and broke through shortly before half-time courtesy of captain Ruslan Rotan. Dnipro's superior European know-how then made the difference in the second half as they strolled to a comfortable win in Romania.

Riding high in the Ukrainian Premier League, Dnipro's early confidence was personified by Yevhen Konoplyanka, whose delicious outswinging corner was headed centimetres past a post by Brazilian forward Matheus. Konoplyanka dissected the hosts' ranks with another pinpoint delivery moments later, only for Jaba Kankava to fire straight at goalkeeper Răzvan Stanca.

Pandurii's resistance was shattered seven minutes before the break, however. Konoplyanka was again the architect, whipping an inviting corner to the front post that captain Rotan stabbed beyond Stanca first time. The Romanian outfit were wobbling and could have fallen further behind had Matheus beaten covering defender Bogdan Ungurușan on the line after rounding Stanca.

If Pandurii hoped the interval would inspire a transformation, they were to be disappointed as Dnipro resumed with the same authority. Midfielder Kankava led the charge, his firm strike from the edge of the area stinging the fingertips of Stanca. The Ukrainian guests had the opportunity to put the result beyond doubt 17 minutes from time, but Matheus prodded wide at the back post from Yevhen Seleznyov's centre.

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