Only a collapse of dramatic proportions can deny FC Dynamo Kyiv another Ukrainian title so it is from a position of strength that defender Goran Sabljić says the team are focused solely on their decisive UEFA Cup fixture.
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Only a collapse of dramatic proportions can deny FC Dynamo Kyiv another Ukrainian title, so it is from a position of strength that defender Goran Sabljić says the team are focused solely on Thursday's decisive UEFA Cup semi-final.
It may be advantage FC Shakhtar Donetsk in Dynamo's all-Ukrainian semi-final following the 1-1 draw in Kiev last week, but Sabljić's side have otherwise had the edge on their rivals all season. Sunday's 1-0 succcess at FC Zorya Luhansk left Dynamo 12 points clear of Shakhtar in the Premier League with four games to play. Draw against SC Tavriya Simferopol on Sunday and Yuri Semin's men are champions again.
The key thing now for Sabljić, a 29-year-old Croatian international, is to deny Shakhtar all consolation by removing even the European hope given them by Fernandinho's first-leg equaliser. "We are focused completely on Shakhtar," said the former HNK Hajduk Split player, who has been involved in three of Dynamo's 12 Ukrainian title triumphs so far. "We have been getting close to the league title for a few weeks now, so our attention has to be on the UEFA Cup.
'Show of class needed'
"The team spirit is fantastic and we are all desperate to get to the final. To do that, we will have to show our full attacking potential, which is something we failed to do in Kiev. But with players like Olexandr Aliyev, Artem Milevskiy, Ismaël Bangoura or Miloš Ninković in the side, we have enough quality to make our dream come true." Booking a European final date in Istanbul on 20 May would certainly ice and spice the cake for the champions-elect's title party.
While Shakhtar will take confidence from having scored six goals and conceded none on home soil in this UEFA Cup run, Dynamo can point to the example of their Round of 32 away goals win over Valencia CF – they followed up a 1-1 draw at the Valeri Lobanovskiy Stadium with a 2-2 in Spain. "We are going to do everything in our power to progress," Sabljić continued. "We all know how high the stakes are, and if we want to get to that final then we must produce our best football."