Dynamo – PSG: Leg 2 PreviewBy: Yevy | April 15th, 2009
The nil draw last Thursday means the result of today’s match will determine who gets the first ticket into the UEFA Cup semifinals. Assuming they score, a draw would be enough to send the French club through, but Dynamo is sure to have nothing but victory in mind when the sides clash again at Lobanovsky Stadium. Who will start up front for the hosts alongside Artem Milevskiy? Will Paul Le Guen finally use veterans Ludovic Giuly and Claude Makelele at this crucial stage of the competition? Find out after the jump.
It is now a certainty that Dynamo will have to cope the rest of the season without vice-captain Taras Mykhalyk. Mykhalyk underwent surgery to repair the damage to his knee he suffered in the UPL match against Metalurh Donetsk. The recovery time is expected to be around six months. Dynamo will have to continue relying on the central defensive pairing of Goran Sablic and Ayila Yussuf. Meanwhile PSG have received a boost as left back Sylvain Armand was deemed fit enough to travel with the squad to Kiev. It is still uncertain whether he will be ready to play.
Yuri Semin planned to rest most of his key players this weekend as Dynamo hosted Chornomorets Odessa. But after the visitors canceled out Andriy Nesmachniy’s spectacular opener, the manager brought on Milevskiy and Oleksandr Aliyev for the final half hour. Aliyev capped the match with a trademark free kick after Serhiy Kravchenko restored the lead with a long range strike of his own. Ismael Bangoura played the full 90 in another uninspired performance, and his initial attacking partner Andriy Yarmolenko did not impress in his hour long shift. With Artem Kravets officially ruled out, there is a lot of speculation about which forward Semin will turn to. Despite the rumors that newcomer Guilherme will make his long awaited debut, my gut feeling is Semin will go with his most proven player. And that means Bangoura will be the one to partner Milevskiy up front. The Guinean striker has yet to score this year, but his experience against Ligue 1 opposition, his apparent fitness, and his track record make him the logical choice. Bangoura is desperate to find the back of the net and silence his doubters, and we should expect to see his best effort today.
PSG had their share of openings at Parc des Princes, but their inability to find the final ball is the reason this tie is still scoreless. The attacking presence of Giuly was sorely missed, but boss Le Guen has yet to waiver when it comes to using the veteran winger in the UEFA Cup. It is clear that his priorities lie in Ligue 1, where goal differential is all that separates his side from a Champions League qualifying spot. As much as a shot at European silverware could mean for PSG supporters, finding a way back into the Champions League and the resulting financial windfall is far more important for the club. Which is why I think Giuly and Makelele are certain to start on the bench today.
Semin’s charges have played attacking football at home against all opponents, and the results speak for themselves. PSG will find it much harder to generate their own offense in front of the Kiev faithful. Dynamo’s edge in possession during the first leg will be even more apparent today, and they should be able to establish it in the attacking half of the pitch. I think Dynamo will be able to break the French resistance inside the first half hour, and how they will play with a goal advantage will determine the outcome of the match. If Dynamo can convert its counters better than they did against the likes of Arsenal, Porto, and Metalist, it will be a long night for PSG. But if the visitors are allowed to stay within a goal to the end, there will always be the possibility of another heartbreak. Prediction: Dynamo 2 – 0 PSG. Goals from Milevskiy and Bangoura, bring on Shakhtar!