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Porto v Dynamo Kiev: Knockouts in reach for Portuguese powerhouse

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 22 Nov 2015

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Julen Lopetegui insists Porto are capable of dealing with their hectic schedule as they seek to confirm a place in the Champions League knockout stages by beating Dynamo Kiev.

Porto’s 2-0 win at Angrense in the Taca de Portugal on Saturday started a run of seven games in the space of 23 days.

The Group G encounter with Dynamo at Estadio do Dragao on Tuesday is among the most important in that run, with group leaders Porto needing only to avoid defeat to confirm their place in the round of 16.

If Porto lose they will face a crucial matchday six encounter at Premier League champions Chelsea either side of Primeira Liga encounters against Pacos de Ferreira and Nacional.

But head coach Lopetegui is unfazed by Porto’s busy schedule.

“A team as demanding as Porto has to deal with this type of pressure on a daily basis,” the Spaniard told Porto’s official website.

“We have a number of important matches coming up, but we are thinking only match by match and trying to face each challenge appropriately.”

Kiev travel to Portugal knowing that failure to win, coupled with a Chelsea victory at Maccabi Tel Aviv, will see them eliminated from the competition, and they face a Porto side that have not lost in any competition since April, a 6-1 battering against Bayern Munich in last season’s quarter-finals.

A late Willian goal gave Chelsea a 2-1 win over Kiev on matchday four and left Sergei Rebrov’s side facing an uphill battle to reach the round of 16.

Head coach Rebrov believes that his side are capable of overcoming any team, but says they must overcome the psychological challenges of facing such high-calibre opposition.

“I see that the team is ready but on the field they are playing, in their opinion, against players at a higher level,” he told the Champions League magazine.

“Personally I do not see the difference. But it was especially clear in the second half of the game against Chelsea. It is important for the guys to break this barrier of uncertainty against rivals.”

Attacking midfielder Andriy Yarmolenko remains confident that the Ukrainian champions can still make the knockout stages.

“We all believe in each other and believe in what we can do,” he said. “We have good players, good coaches, and I think that if we show good football we can succeed.”

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