Dynamo united this country at Santiago Bernabeu
There was no miracle. And Ukrainian fans will have to hope for two still more improbable miracles on the coming Wednesday: at least a draw in Norway and a victory at Kyiv’s Olympic Stadium. But, on the other hand, despite a host of injuries, suspension of Kaladze, lackluster performance by leaders Belkevych and Rebrov, the already traditional sloppy defense, and the goalie’s lapse, the prediction of much of the Russian media that Real will trounce Dynamo did not happen. And although the Madrid players’ chief coach Vicente del Bosque tried to prove after the match that Dynamo goals had been accidental, it is impossible this time to put the draw down only to Dynamo players’ good luck. In spite of all mistakes and miscalculations, the team showed its mettle that night.
“ I think we have the right to be proud of March 14 game and even the result,” a Moscow fan wrote in Dynamo’s Internet site (http://www.dynamo.kiev.ua). “The TEAM again proved it no longer fears the so-called grandees, so it fought to the end like men. Games like this augment to one’s prestige and respect in the soccer world. And believe me, the point is not that Real has become so weak but that we have become so strong and self-assertive that our go-all-the-way spirit sometimes goes beyond the bounds of reason and we stop being aware that each player and the TEAM as a whole with its present line-up have a ‘ceiling’ of their own, their limit, if you want... We could win or lose this match — this is the beauty and paradox of soccer. The main thing is I am not ashamed of my TEAM and I am proud it plays on a par with Europe’s best teams. What is more, last Tuesday this country cheered for Dynamo, while the team and the whole country paid tribute to the dead miners. As NTV’s “Third Half” program said, Hryhory Surkis managed to persuade the conservative UEFA to allow Dynamo players to wear mourning arm-bands.”
The match at Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium in fact showed wholeheated soccer.
The position of both teams in the Champions League group tournament made a draw undesirable. But while Real’s front line in the first half looked quite a customary formation, it was unexpected for all that Dynamo put out as many as three forwards at a time. The point is Shatskikh, Rebrov, and Demetradze came out on the pitch all right but did they really attack? Meanwhile, our defense showed at first a style already typical of this spring. “Come on, boys, shoot home,” the Kyivan fullbacks seemed to be inviting their rivals, apparently sure that goalie Shovkovsky and fortune will do a good job again and save us from goals. Real forwards, who at first showed high technique and speed, began frequent visits to the Kyiv goal area. A penalty was soon awarded for Real, which Raul struck home rather calmly and matter-of- factly. His facial expression seemed to be saying: I am tired of beating this fellow, Shovkovsky! The hosts’ overconfidence, who did not doubt their own superiority, worked in favor of the Ukrainians who were literally fumbling with the ball. Even the usually self-assured and self-composed Rebrov failed to convert a penalty skillfully earned by Demetradze. It was a bad day for our leading forward.
The Spanish stars’ overconfidence climaxed in Raul’s failure, when he sloppily struck the second penalty shot against Dynamo, parried by our goalkeeper who made saves more than once. The ease with which the Madrid players surged through our defenses played a nasty joke on the hosts: they really believed they would be able to strike home, if necessary, as many times as they pleased. Meanwhile, the free- striding Demetradze continued to grill Miguel Salgado. The conceited Spaniard did not even ask to stop the game, when he lost a shoe while kicking the ball outside the field line. While Salgado was putting on the shoe, the ball was cornered exactly to the spot he had left. Two fullbacks at once rushed there, leaving Khatskevych unmarked three meters away from the goal, and the score tied at one all.
The seemingly unruffled Fernando Hierro scored a goal of his own. Whoever keeps track of the Spanish championship knows that Hierro is not so unruffled and has nerves, too. Putting Dynamo in the lead after a cross from Demetradze, the Real captain powered ahead to correct his mistake. He seemed to be doing this at random without knowing what to do. All our side had to do was to hold out for forty minutes and accept congratulations on being through to the quarterfinals. However, the two goals received as gifts by Real proved to be too much. Luck then smiles on the Spaniards. Our side failed to keep up their minimal superiority, as did the hosts in the first half. Hierro was awarded a free kick exactly on Roberto Carlos’ spot. The sinister shot by the latter made Shovkovsky flounder again, and the score was two all.
Then came the wholeheated soccer we mentioned. Forgetting about defense, both teams went on the offensive: one accurate shot could have meant victory for the team that made it. The adult professionals played like children, unaware of their coaches’ instructions and tactical patterns. This was so spectacular that time lapsed unnoticed, leaving hope for both Dynamo and Real. In theory, the Spaniards are closer to success, but can’t we expect a gift from Rosenborg to Real similar to the one Maribor gave us last fall? What is left for us is a super-dessert: the crucial quarterfinal-qualifying match between Dynamo and Bayern!