Dynamo Kiev boss Sergei Rebrov praised his players’ physical and mental strength in the wake of their 2-0 away victory over Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Andriy Yarmolenko scored Kiev’s first goal after only four minutes, with Junior Moraes grabbing the second just after half-time and the visitors were rarely troubled as they cruised to their first away group win in seven attempts.
The victory leaves the Ukrainian champions on top of Group G, ahead of Porto on goal difference and Rebrov was left understandably delighted.
“It’s always very hard to play in Israel,” he said.
“It was stuffy and hot tonight and even at the end of the first-half, our players were tired.
“It was an important victory and our players were strong tonight, especially towards the end.
“I think Maccabi tried their best, but we worked very hard and we deserved this.”
The defeat was Maccabi’s second in as many games in what is their first appearance in the group stages since 2004, coming hot on the heels of a 4-0 trouncing by Chelsea.
And manager Slavisa Jokanovic acknowledged that his charges are on a steep learning curve.
“After 11 years, Maccabi realised their dream and made it into the group stages of the Champions League,” he said, “and it is a dream come true, but it is very difficult at this level.
“We still have 12 points that we can gain and we will fight.
“Tonight we fought as much as we could, but I am not disappointed.
“We know that Dynamo Kiev are a better team than we are.”
The Israeli side did create some decent goalscoring chances, Eden Ben Basat and danger-man Eran Zahavi both going close either side of the break, but they simply had no answer to Kiev’s pace and movement on the counter-attack.
And it does not get any easier for Jokanovic’s side, who face the daunting prospect of a trip to Porto next month.