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Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Fenerbahce travel to Dynamo Kiev with an extra incentive as both do battle to keep their European dreams alive.
Neither side have a hope of reaching the Champions League knockout stages, with Arsenal and Porto already having clinched the two Group G spots, but both will be hoping their final game in the competition is not their last in Europe.

Dynamo have a three-point advantage over Fenerbache and only need to avoid defeat to progress to the UEFA Cup, something their opponents will achieve with victory at the Lobanovsky Dynamo Stadium.

The final is set to be held at Fenerbahce's Sukru Saracoglu Stadium and the Turkish side would love nothing more than to lift the trophy on their own turf on May 20.

Moreover, if they reach the final, reports suggest they will net two million dollars.

After a stumbling start to the season Fenerbahce have started to come into their own and are now unbeaten in eight games domestically.

Coach Luis Aragones has given a rallying call to his troops to transfer that form into Europe.

Turkish newspaper Fotomac reveal he told his players: "In the league we have reached the point we wanted to.

"We have to continue on our path in Europe and if we win the game in Kiev, the path will remain open.

"From this moment on we have to bare our teeth.''

Alex played at the weekend despite suffering a fever and remains a doubt for the clash.

He has nevertheless urged his team-mates pull out all the stops to take the three points because "it is a good way of redeeming ourselves for the bad start to the season''.

Onder Turacy is also a doubt for the game, with Tumer Metin, Semih Senturk and Emre Belozoolu definitely out.

Fenerbahce have not won away from home in the Champions League for four years but even more remarkably that is the last time - to the day - that Dynamo won at home in the competition.

All signs indicate the game will end in a draw, as the first match between the pair did, and that would suit Dynamo coach Yuriy Semin to a tee.

"Any result that allows us to entry into the UEFA Cup round of 32 will be positive for us,'' he said. "I can only say that the main success criteria are based on a balanced game and patience.''

Semin insists he is proud of his team whatever happens.

"First of all, I feel like we have a real team,'' he said. "Our players had a great chance to gain valuable experience playing against strong rivals.

"Undoubtedly, we committed some mistakes and that cost us a lot of problems. But it was a good trial for the team.

"We had a great chance to compete with the top European teams and oppose major footballers stars. Nevertheless, I think we looked pretty good.''

Indeed Dynamo could have even done better had extremely late goals not seen them draw and lose to Arsenal, and lose to Porto.

Semin will be missing a host of players with Ayila Yussuf, Artem Kravets, Milos Ninkovic, Olexandr Romanchuk, Badr El Kaddouri, Oleksandr Aliyev, Oleh Husyev and Maksim Shatskikh all injured.

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