Andriy Yarmolenko Is Poised to Star for Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League

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Andriy Yarmolenko Is Poised to Star for Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League

Andriy Yarmolenko was outshone somewhat during this summer's European Championships by a man who shares his first name.

When that man just so happens to be Andriy Shevchenko, the most recognizable Ukrainian footballer of all time, you begin to understand how Yarmolenko might fly somewhat under the radar when it comes to a popularity contest.

But for those who know football, the pacy forward has long been one of the brightest young talents in Europe.

During the Euros, he lent credence to the hype with a stirring performance.

It was Yarmolenko who provided the assist for the first of Shevchenko's two goals against Sweden in the first match of the group stages—inevitably, the one match Ukraine would win of the three—sending in a delightful cross that Shevchenko powered home in the 55th minute.

That Yarmolenko—it's spelled "Iarmolenko" on his jersey for club side Dynamo Kiev—was able to combine so brilliantly with "Sheva" figured; the two have been playing together at club level since Shevchenko moved back to Dynamo ahead of the 2009-10 season.

With the iconic hit man now having hung up his boots—he enjoyed the swan song of all swan songs at the Euros—the torch has been passed to Yarmolenko.

On Tuesday, in the first leg of Dynamo Kiev's Champions League playoff against Borussia Monchengladbach, he made sure that his former teammate, who was surely watching on, knew that he'd left the club in good hands.

Yarmolenko nabbed the second goal of what became a 3-1 rout of the Germans at Borussia-Park, sending in a strike that showcased his attacking proclivities along with a ruthless streak that will undoubtedly serve him well should Kiev complete their qualification for the UCL group stages.

Road games in Europe are a notoriously tricky affair, and to have a finisher like Yarmolenko is a priceless commodity.

Collecting a pass during an incisive counterattack in the 36th minute, Yarmolenko employed a dizzying set of stepovers to wrongfoot Alvaro Dominguez Soto, who had raced back to stem his advancement.

With the center-back wobbling out of the picture, Yarmolenko unleashed a searing left-footed drive that flew past Marc-Andre ter Stegen at the near post.

Ter Stegen was furious at his defense for their marking. Kiev's small-but-boisterous traveling band of supporters were lost amid a furious haze of ecstasy.

The keeper almost had more reason to curse his stars when Yarmolenko nearly picked him out at his near post with another bending left-footed effort.

Though Monchengladbach had Kiev firmly on the back foot in the second half, embarking upon a siege in the final third, the Ukrainians held strong and took away a priceless two-goal advantage ahead of next week's return leg in Kiev.

They had Yarmolenko's exploits to thank, in part. The striker showed Tuesday why he is the sort of clinical finisher who could thrive in the competition.

Should Kiev complete their feat next Wednesday, he could very well be poised for a breakthrough.

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