UEFA.com works better on other browsers
For the best possible experience, we recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

Seleznyov targets historic Dnipro triumph

A UEFA Cup winner with FC Shakhtar Donetsk in 2009, first-leg hero Yevhen Seleznyov dreams of firing FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk to a famous European success.

Yevhen Seleznyov wheels away after his 81st-minute equaliser against last-four rivals Napoli
Yevhen Seleznyov wheels away after his 81st-minute equaliser against last-four rivals Napoli ©AFP/Getty Images

Having won the UEFA Cup in 2009 with FC Shakhtar Donetsk, FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk forward Yevhen Seleznyov is targeting further European glory this season with his current Ukrainian Premier League team.

"It would mean a lot – a victory would increase our prestige [across Europe]." In the last four of the UEFA Europa League for the first time, Dnipro continue to enjoy the element of surprise in their most successful continental campaign since 1989/90. "Nobody backed us, it's surprised everyone we've come this far," said the Ukraine striker, who has featured eight times in the 2014/15 competition.

Despite his regular appearances, however, the front man started Thursday's semi-final first leg at SSC Napoli on the bench. Yet as a substitute he provided a telling contribution nine minutes from time in Italy – having come on 60 seconds earlier. In the face of an onslaught from the Serie A side, with the hosts recording 19 efforts on goal, Dnipro denied the Partenopei as Seleznyov notched an away goal to secure a 1-1 draw.

"All of us understand what we are playing for," the former FC Arsenal Kyiv player said. "This club is unique. We have great fans and the city of Dnipropetrovsk loves football. We've been playing together for a while now and we've always had great team spirit – I think that is the main reason for our success.

"It took me three or four years to realise the significance of winning the UEFA Cup," continued the Dnipro No11 who, for all his domestic outings with Shakhtar in 2008/09, was limited to substitute cameos as the Pitmen claimed their first European trophy. "I didn't appreciate the importance of that triumph for the city of Donetsk and for Shakhtar. Winning a European trophy was very significant back then – and that's still the case."

Dnipro head into the return against Rafael Benítez's men in confident mood given their away goal leaves them just 90 minutes away from the 27 May final in Warsaw. "Nobody is backing us but we will do everything possible to win against Napoli," Seleznyov promised.

Selected for you