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Ex-Shakhtar coach Lucescu guides arch rivals Dynamo to title

Kiev (AFP) – Mircea Lucescu celebrated guiding Dynamo Kiev to the Ukrainian league title on Saturday in his first season as coach at the bitter rivals of Shakhtar Donetsk, the side he managed for 12 years.

Such was the level of protests at his appointment of the former Shakhtar stalwart from Dynamo fans the 75-year-old had contemplated quitting.

But he weathered the storm and masterminded Dynamo’s 16th title but first for five years, sealed with three games of the season remaining.

Lucescu’s new team did it in style by thrashing minnows Ingulets Petrove 5-0 at the Olympiysky stadium in Kiev, with centre-back Illya Zabarnyi scoring the fourth minute opener and forward Artem Besedin doubling up before the quarter of an hour mark.

Dynamo captain Viktor Tsygankov added a brace in the 48th and 70th minutes with centre-back Denys Popov rounding off the rout late on.

The win gave Dynamo an unassailable 13-point lead over Shakhtar, who had won the title for the past four years.

Dynamo’s decision last summer to hire the seasoned Romanian sparked uproar from fans because of his lengthy tenure at Shakhtar where he won a host of domestic honours and the 2009 UEFA Cup.

Lucescu was unsettled by the reaction and even announced his intention to walk away just two days after signing his contract, but subsequently reversed his decision.

The title ensures Dynamo go straight into next season’s Champions League group stage. 

Dynamo can win their 13th Ukrainian Cup when they play Zorya Lugansk in the final in mid-May.

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