AEK left to regret missed chances in Kyiv
AEK Athens gave everything in the gripping UEFA Europa League Last 32 battle against Dynamo Kyiv, but a gritty 0:0 draw in Ukraine wasn’t good enough for progression.
The Enosis had plenty of promising opportunities to score that crucial goal in Kyiv, but poor finishing prevented AEK from capitalising on their excellent play. Masoud Shojaei had the best chance, blasting over the gaping net at point blank range.
Nevertheless, despite the disappointing outcome, AEK head coach Manolo Jimenez felt proud of his players. “I congratulate Dynamo, but not always the team which works hardest wins,” stated the 57-year old Spaniard. “Both in Kyiv and Athens, AEK were better. However, while Dynamo used their chances in Greece, we couldn’t do the same here. I’m proud of my players, now we need to prepare for the next game in the Greek championship. It’s difficult to play in the cold and snow, but it didn’t affect the result.”
Dynamo Kyiv boss Alyaksandr Khatskevich was relieved to see the organised Ukrainians advance to the Last 16. “It was a nervy game, both teams fought for every inch of the pitch,” said Khatskevich. “AEK had more possession, but we had chances to score too. Our priority is the league, however we will wait and see who we play in the Europa League next. We expected AEK to start strongly, they have a balanced team. We knew that they would shoot a lot.”
AEK stand-in captain Andre Simoes, who picked up a yellow card in a hot-tempered affair, said that the Greeks should hold their heads high. “Sometimes, football is unfair. We needed one more goal in both of these games. Dynamo are a great team, but we tried to play football. We’re leaving with our heads held high, we put in a brilliant performance today.”
Ukrainian defender Dmytro Chygrynskiy was frustrated with the fact that AEK couldn’t score on their chances. “It’s hard to find words,” revealed Chygrynskiy. “Just like in Athens, we weren’t lucky. Unfortunately, we can’t change what happened, but we leave the Europa League undefeated.”