Dynamo Kyiv vs AEK Athens – Thursday, February 22, 18:00 GMT/19:00 CET – NSC Olimpiyskiy, Kyiv, Ukraine
Last week kicked off the Round of 32 in the 2017/18 Europa League, where Dynamo Kyiv drew AEK Athens. Many concerns surrounded the Dynamo base, believing that the long winter break could serve as a handicap for the Ukrainians in this tie. Yet despite this potential setback, Dynamo Kyiv overcame this obstacle by collecting a result in Athens.
The Ukrainians took the lead through Viktor Tsyhankov during the first half, and while they did not maintain much possession, it seemed everything was on track for the visitors. AEK Athens, however, had other plans. During the second half, the Greeks improved their performance and found an equalizer during the closing stages of the match.
While Dynamo’s strong defensive performance was undone, the match ended 1-1. The visitors escaped this fixture with an important away goal and will be pleased to hold a narrow lead in this tie. Now, as both sides approach the second leg, the Ukrainians will surely want to put on a strong display at home to book their place to the Europa League’s Round of 16. Meanwhile, AEK will hope to overcome its poor away form in Europe to advance to the next round of the competition.
Dynamo Kyiv vs AEK Athens – Players to Watch:
Junior Moraes #11 – Dynamo Kyiv
Having netted six goals in seven Europa League matches this season, Dynamo will turn to their prolific striker to ensure that they advance from this tie. Moraes was left isolated for most of the match in Athens, and he will surely want to amend this performance with a dominant display at home.
Ognjen Vranješ #4 – AEK Athens
The Bosnian center back kept his composure throughout the first leg and led AEK’s defense to a strong display. Though his side were unfortunate to concede an away goal, his defensive antics helped hold Dynamo’s chances at bay. If the Greeks have any anticipation of progressing into the Europa League’s Round of 16, Vranješ will hope to replicate a similar defensive performance in the second leg in Kyiv.
Dynamo Kyiv vs AEK Athens – Match Stats
- The first leg ended 1-1. AEK maintained 65% possession while Dynamo registered 35%.
- AEK outshot Dynamo in the match 15 to 3, where AEK registered 6 shots on target. Dynamo only registered 1.
- AEK’s unbeaten run in Europe extended to nine matches, where they have drawn six.
- In the 2017/18 Europa League Group Stage, AEK were held goalless in two of their three away games.
- Dynamo have fared well at home in European competitions. Combining their performances from this season’s Champions League qualification, Europa League qualification, and the Europa League Group Stage, Dynamo outscored its opponents 14 to 6.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Dynamo Kyiv vs AEK Athens – 2-1
Dynamo Kyiv vs AEK Athens – Possible Starting Lineups
Boyko – Morozyuk, Kádár, Khacheridi, Kedziora – Buyalsky, Shepelev – Gonzalez, Harmash, Tsyhankov – Moraes
Manager: Aleksandr Khatskevich
Barkas – Bakakis, Lampropoulos, Vranjes, Galo – Christodoulopoulos, Simoes, Galanopoulos – Bakesetas, Livaja – Araujo
Manager: Manolo Jimenez
Mark Temnycky is a Ukrainian-American who earned a Master of Public Administration and a Master of Arts in International Relations from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs in June 2017. He is pursuing a career in international relations and foreign policy. Follow Mark on Twitter @MTem33