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Wednesday 15 August 2018

Derry look like they need Minsk miracle

Europa League Dinamo Minsk v Derry (Minsk, 4pm)

Away support: The two Dinamo Minsk fans in Derry
Away support: The two Dinamo Minsk fans in Derry

Progress to the next round of the Europa League appears to be out of the questio, but Derry City hope they can at least ask some questions of Dinamo Minsk when they face off in Belarus this evening.

Derry's home game against Dinamo last week was disappointing on and off the field, a 2-0 defeat played out in front of a small crowd at the Brandywell, some Derry fans boycotting the fixture because ticket prices were increased.

Dinamo hope to have a party atmosphere as tonight's game sees them play in their newly renovated home for the first time since 2012, a crowd of 10,000 predicted, a different backdrop to the game in Derry where Dinamo's official away support was two fans

It's all a challenge for City boss Kenny Shiels and his players, but he's keen for them to give a good account of themselves.

"Their early goal in the first leg was a massive blow, but we fought back well after that. There's no point in going out there gung-ho and leaving ourselves too open, but we do need to show more intent in the final third," he said.

"We need to stay in the tie as long as we can because if we do that and can nick one ourselves, that would certainly ask the question."

Aside from the 2-0 lead from the away leg, Dinamo will feel that history is on their side: they have faced Irish opposition in Europe on two previous occasions, with successes against Bohemians (1996) and St Patrick's Athletic (2016).

But their head coach Sergei Gurenko insists the job is not done.

"We can't underestimate the opposition," he says.

"In the first game we did well and scored early, and did well in the second half.

"But we cannot allow ourselves to relax, we have to finish off the job. The first game in the new stadium is a big occasion for us and all of my players are desperate to play."

The winners of this tie play Slovalkian side Dunajská Streda in the second qualifying round.

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