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
"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