On Mar 2, Dnipro Dnipropetrovs’k hosted Dynamo Kyiv in a key encounter in Ukraine’s top division. Dynamo’s sway over Ukrainian football remains strong, as a four-goal barrage, by members of a fully globalized Dynamo side, attests. (www.fcdnipro.dp.ua, 0:53)
Dnipro is trying to end Dynamo’s and Shakhtar Donetsk’s grip on first and second place in the top division. The two sides have occupied those positions, in various order, for 11 straight seasons. Dnipro, on the other hand—lying in the eastern, ethnically Russian section of Ukraine, along the mighty River Dnieper—has not won a trophy since 1989. They defeated the rivals from the capital 3–1 in the sides’ previous meeting.
Jonathan Wilson, whom we quote extensively in the live blog, refers to Yuri Semin‘s presence as Kyiv’s fourth manager of the season—the team turning to Russian leadership and setting aside the nationalist legacy in the interest of pragmatics (“The Nationalist Guard in Ukraine Are Rearming,” Guardian Unlimited, Mar 4). Also, in remaking the team during winter break, Dynamo
seem, at last, to have run out of players who once played for Valeriy Lobanovskyi. The need to break the Colonel’s ideological hold was manifest—you might be able to run a church by speculating on what a past leader would have done in a given circumstance, but not, it seems, a football club—and so Dynamo did the unthinkable and turned to somebody who isn’t even Ukrainian.