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Dynamo, Shakhtar prepare for all-Ukrainian UEFA Cup showdown


MOSCOW, May 7 (RIA Novosti) - Dynamo Kiev and Shakhtar Donetsk meet in a UEFA Cup semifinal, second leg clash on Thursday to decide who will be the first Ukrainian club to make the final of a major European competition since 1986.

The first leg ended 1-1 in Kiev, and although the east Ukrainian side now have a slight advantage, their Romanian coach was adamant that his players would have to give 100% to make the final.

"For me, the odds are even still, so we have to play as if it were 0-0 after the first leg," Mircea Lucescu told UEFA.

Dynamo are runaway leaders in the domestic league, and Russian coach Yury Syomin was able to rest most of his top players at the weekend. However, Syomin has yet to lead Dynamo to a victory over Shakhtar, losing three times and drawing once.

"We came here to fight, and I believe my players can be winners tomorrow and after that in the UEFA Cup final," he told UEFA.

Dynamo are the only Ukrainian side to have won a European trophy, winning the now-defunct Cup Winners' Cup in 1975 and 1986. They also lifted the Super Cup in 1975.

The 2008/09 European season has been the most successful for Ukrainian clubs since 1999, when Valery Lobanovskiy's Dynamo Kiev reached the semifinals of the Champions League.

With the other semifinal between Werder Bremen and Hamburg SV, a German-Ukrainian final is guaranteed. This season will be the third time in the last five years that a club from a former Soviet republic has reached the final, with CSKA Moscow victorious in 2005 and an Andrei Arshavin-inspired Zenit St. Petersburg lifting the trophy last year.

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