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Valencia strike late against tiring Dynamo Kyiv

FC Dynamo Kyiv 0-2 Valencia CF
Just as a fairy-tale return for Olexandr Rybka was in the offing, the Spanish side struck twice in the last 11 minutes to take a first-leg lead.

Eduardo Vargas (right) celebrates with team-mates after scoring Valencia's first goal in Nicosia
Eduardo Vargas (right) celebrates with team-mates after scoring Valencia's first goal in Nicosia ©AFP/Getty Images

Valencia CF will take a 2-0 lead into next week's UEFA Europa League round of 32 second leg after Eduardo Vargas finally ended substitute Olexandr Rybka's resistance with 11 minutes remaining.

Former Ukraine No1 Rybka, making his first competitive appearance in over two years, looked like stealing the show as he made a string of fine stops amid mounting Valencia pressure in Nicosia. However, January signing Vargas had other ideas as the substitute escaped his marker and rose at the near post to nod in Daniel Parejo's corner. The Chile forward went close again three minutes later, cannoning a header against the upright, before fellow replacement Sofiane Feghouli's deflected effort gave the Liga outfit some breathing space.

The breakthrough came as Dynamo began to tire in the closing stages of what was their first competitive outing since they qualified for this round on 12 December. In the last 25 minutes Rybka made brilliant saves from Vargas and Seydou Keita, and a heavy first touch allowed him to scramble off his line to smother at the feet of Feghouli. The pressure eventually told in Cyprus, where the game was held due to the security situation in Kyiv, spoiling Rybka's comeback.

Indeed, chances had been at a premium before the Ukrainian club's first-choice custodian Olexandr Shovkovskiy, largely a spectator, pulled up as he collected the ball on the edge of his box minutes into the second period. Dynamo had opportunities, with Jeremain Lens unable to keep down his shot from an awkward bouncing cross straight after the interval. Ideye Brown also failed to connect from point-blank range later in the half – and moments later it was 1-0. Dynamo's disappointment was complete when Feghouli's wayward added-time strike ballooned off Domagoj Vida and over the committed Rybka.

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