Champions League

Garmash sends Dynamo into playoffs

Denis Garmash (Getty)
Denis Garmash (Getty)

Kiev - A goal by midfielder Denis Garmash put Ukraine's reigning champions Dynamo Kiev into the Champions League last 16 with a 1-0 home win over Maccabi Tel-Aviv here on Wednesday.

The narrow win behind closed doors lifted the capital club up into second, two points behind the English side Chelsea, who won Group G after beating Porto 2-0.

"Of course we're happy to get such a long-awaited play-off spot," Dynamo manager Serhiy Rebrov said.

"But for us it wasn't easy at all to play at an empty stadium.

"Besides, for our young players it was mentally difficult to set themselves up for the match with bottom-placed Maccabi.

"Luckily, we've made the final step and advanced into the knockout round."

Dynamo, who needed nothing less than victory to advance into the Champions league knockout stage, dominated the play from the kick-off at an eerily empty Olympic complex, as their crowd were banned for racist behaviour and unrest during their home game with Chelsea.

Garmash had smashed the ball into the net from close range when the match was just two minutes old but his goal was ruled off for offside.

But then in the 16th minute Garmash put Dynamo 1-0 up sending home a rebound after Maccabi goalie Predrag Rajkovic parried a teammate Tal Ben Haim's shot towards his own net in an attempt to clear a free kick by Sergei Rybalka from the right.

The visitors' only moment in the first half came with four minutes remaining before the break, when Dynamo 'keeper Alexander Shovkovskiy cleared a well-struck free kick by midfielder Eran Zahavi from the left for a corner.

After the interval Dynamo eased up, while Maccabi picked up steam pinning the home team back in attempt to chalk up their first points of the campaign.

But it was to no avail as the visitors failed to create any serious threat lacking accuracy and creativity in attack.

Dynamo experienced few problems in keeping their lead to progress into the Champions League play-offs after a 16-year wait.