Dynamo Kyiv’s potential bid to reach the Champions League group stage ended on Tuesday after the Ukrainian side suffered a heavy aggregate defeat to Benfica in the qualifying play-offs.
Benfica won 3-0 in the second leg in Lisbon thanks to goals from Nicolas Otamendi, Rafa Silva and David Neris, following up a 2-0 win in the first leg in Lodz, Poland last week.
Dynamo, a historic name in European football, has not played domestically all year due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Champions League qualifiers are the only games Dinamo have played and they have beaten Fenerbahce and Sturm Graz to reach the final round.
The Ukrainian Football League kicked off its new season on Tuesday with Shakhtar Donetsk and Metalist 1925 drawing 0-0 at Kyiv’s Olympic Stadium, which has a capacity of 65,500 but without spectators during the clash. and Dynamo’s first league match is on Sunday.
Ukraine will be represented in the group stage by Shakhtar in Istanbul on Thursday, who finished top of the Ukrainian league when last season was abandoned due to the conflict.
While Dynamo advance to the Europa League group stage, Benfica – European champions in 1961 and ’62 – will be part of Thursday’s draw with Maccabi Haifa and Viktoria Plzen also qualifying on Tuesday.
Maccabi conceded a goal in the 90th minute – Milan Pavkov slotting a free kick into his own net – to claim a 2-2 draw with Red Star Belgrade and a 5-4 aggregate win, returning to the Championship. . league for the first time since 2009-10.
In this campaign, Maccabi lost all six games and did not score a single goal.
Maccabi came from 2-0 down after 43 minutes in the second leg against the 1991 European champions, with Daniel Sandgren starting the fightback with a first-half stoppage time.
Czech team Plzeň, who were in the last round of the 2019 group, also beat Qarabag 2-1 and won with the same score on aggregate.