Dynamo Kiev reached the last 16 of the Champions League for the first time in 16 years after stuttering to a 1-0 win over Maccabi Tel Aviv.
A first-half goal from Denys Garmash proved the difference between the two sides on an eerily quiet night at Olimpiyskiy Stadium, where the game took place behind closed doors.
Head coach Serhiy Rebrov, who was part of the Dynamo side that advanced to the second group stage of Europe’s premier club competition in 1999-2000, saw his team control the game, but struggle to break down their resilient Israeli opponents.
Maccabi bow out of the Champions League with no points from their six Group G matches, although they gave Dynamo a number of scares on a cold night in Kiev.
Dynamo go into the draw for the next round on a high, having lost just once in the group stages, but will need to improve on this performance if they are to progress further.
Wednesday’s game was the first of two that Dynamo were ordered to play behind closed doors following their supporters’ racist behaviour when Chelsea visited Kiev, and the atmosphere at Olimpiyskiy Stadium was ghostly.
Garmash had the ball in the net with a flick from close range inside the opening two minutes, only to be denied a goal by an offside flag.
Moments later Junior Moraes broke through and stung a dipping shot towards goal, drawing a superb reaction save from Maccabi goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic, who turned the ball over the crossbar.
Rajkovic then had to save from his own player when Serhiy Rybalka’s cross was almost turned in by Tal Ben Haim II, and his parry was eagerly pounced upon by Garmash, who struck the ball high into the net to make it 1-0.
Maccabi responded well, stemming the flow of the formidable Dynamo attack, and Dor Micha almost rounded off a superb passing move from the visitors when Avi Rikan picked him out in the box, but he sliced his shot wide.
Eran Zahavi’s free-kick caused havoc just before half-time when Oleksandr Shovkovskiy spilled the ball on his goal line, but the veteran Dynamo goalkeeper quickly recovered and the hosts held onto their lead.
Garmash should have doubled the lead with a free header from Rybalka’s free-kick just after the break, but his aim was poor and the ball went out for a goal-kick.
Vitorino Antunes tried his luck with a drive from 20 yards that bounced just wide, before Zahavi fired wide at the other end after more positive attacking play from Maccabi.
Dynamo were only occasionally troubled as they neared the final whistle and the prize of qualification, but with such a narrow lead they could never relax.
But in the end Maccabi, who scored just one goal in their entire group campaign, lacked the cutting edge in the final third and Dynamo were allowed a safe passage into the knockout stages.