Shakhtar Donetsk hold the upper hand heading into their Uefa Cup semi-final, second leg with Dynamo Kyiv, Sky Sports reported.

A 1-1 draw in Kyiv during the first meeting means Mircea Lucescu`s side know a goalless stalemate would be enough to send them to the final courtesy of the away goals rule.

That would be a dangerous approach to take, though, with the outcome of the contest still hanging in the balance.

History does suggest, however, that Shakhtar are favourites to progress, with Lucescu yet to taste defeat in four competitive meetings with his Kyiv counterpart Yuri Semin.

The reigning Ukrainian Premier League champions have also won all three of their home fixtures in the Uefa Cup this season, scoring six goals in the process and conceding none.

Shakhtar will be forced to reorganise their defensive unit as they look to reach a first European final, but Mykola Ischenko is regarded as an able deputy for the suspended Olexandr Kucher.


Dynamo will go in search of goals buoyed by a 1-0 win on their travels at the weekend which helped to cement their standing at the summit of the Ukrainian top flight.

They hold a 12-point lead over the chasing pack and were afforded the luxury of being able to rest key men for the narrow victory over FC Zorya Luhansk.

Kyiv will be without long-term absentees Pape Diakhate, Taras Mikhalik, and Artem Kravets but there is a small possibility that striker Guilherme will be fit in time.

Roman Eremenko is expected to return in midfield after sitting out the first leg, while forward Artem Milevskiy should also be contention despite carrying a slight knock.

Kyiv are looking to secure their first European success since lifting the Cup Winners` Cup in 1986 and Semin is confident his side are capable of going all the way.

"We came here to fight, and I believe my players can be winners (against Shakhtar) and after that in the Uefa Cup final," he told Uefa`s official website.

Sky Sports