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Five lessons learned from Dnipro 2-0 Olympiacos

Was this a chance missed for Olympiacos FC? Did the introduction of Nikola Kalinić make the difference for FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk? UEFA.com's Richard van Poortvliet has his say.

Dnipro impressed despite their two months off before facing Olympiacos
Dnipro impressed despite their two months off before facing Olympiacos ©AFP/Getty Images

UEFA.com reporter Richard van Poortvliet gives his thoughts on FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk's 2-0 victory at home to Olympiacos FC, and wonders what it means for the visitors ahead of the Athens derby.

The introduction of Kalinić was a game changer
Whatever FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk head coach Myron Markevych said to his players at half-time, it worked. However, the 64-year-old must take a lot of the credit himself. The introduction of Nikola Kalinić proved to be a masterstroke as the home team switched to a 4-4-2 formation that crucially meant the Croatian gave forward Roman Zozulya, who had cut a lone figure in the first 45 minutes, some support.

Dnipro were more direct, more incisive and just a better team as a result. The growth in confidence was evident for all to see, and although both goals were slightly fortunate, the Ukrainian side certainly deserved victory.

A fantastic start to 2015 for Dnipro
A two-month break from competitive football is not ideal for any side, but it did not seem to matter to Dnipro. They may have looked rusty in the first half, but they quickly brushed the cobwebs aside to put in an assured second-half performance, roared on by a small but passionate band of supporters, who defied the freezing temperatures to cheer on their team.

An opportunity missed for Olympiacos
It was certainly not a Greek tragedy, but Olympiacos FC will feel they let a great chance slip on a cold night in Kyiv. Their new head coach, Vítor Pereira, lamented his side's busy schedule coming into the UEFA Europa League Round of 32. However, his side failed to build on a promising first-half performance, against a team that had not played competitively in over two months.

Dutch international Ibrahim Afellay believes his team are certainly not out of this tie, but admitted profligacy in front of goal cost his side. "Normally we should have scored at least one goal in an away game," he said.

Konoplyanka still has room for improvement
He is wanted by a number of Europe's top clubs and on occasions it was easy to see why. Yevhen Konoplyanka certainly has the skill and the vision, but perhaps the Ukrainian international was guilty on occasions of overplaying, while his final ball does need some work. The 25-year-old is at a make-or-break point in his career. He has the ability to become a top player, but does he have the work ethic and desire to take his game to the next level?

An Athens derby at the weekend
Games against bitter rivals Panathinaikos are not for the faint-hearted. However, this is exactly what Olympiacos face on Sunday. The team from Piraeus enjoy a six-point lead at the top of the Greek Super League from the Greens and a victory at the weekend would not only go a long way to helping them retain their domestic title, it would also give them a lot of confidence for the return leg with Dnipro, when they will need to find the net to have any chance of continuing their European campaign.

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