Teams: dinamo kyiv,benfica,and russian sport
Kirichenko cautious about Saturn voyage
FC Saturn Moskovskaya Oblast striker Dmitri Kirichenko is wary of the threat UEFA Intertoto Cup third-round opponents VfB Stuttgart pose as the Russian club bid to reach the UEFA Cup for the first time.
Kirichenko scored the only goal in the third minute of last week's first leg in Ramenskoye to give European debutants Saturn a slender lead to protect in Germany on Sunday, as well as going on to strike the post during the second half. The 31-year-old, though, is not writing off the 2006/07 Bundesliga champions having witnessed just how close Armin Veh's team came to grabbing an away goal during a lively first encounter.
"Despite the loss, Stuttgart did not play badly in the first game," Kirichenko told uefa.com. "They attacked really well and had enough good scoring chances. This is quite a strong team with its own style. For me it is obvious – they just haven't hit their top form yet."
Nevertheless, the 12-times capped Russia forward insists the victory and the concession of no away goals represented a "good result" as the Premier-Liga outfit seek to become the first Russian club to win a UEFA Intertoto Cup. Saturn made it a pair of good results on Wednesday when they recorded their biggest domestic success of the season in defeating relegation threatened FC Shinnik Yaroslavl 4-0 at home to ensure they travel to southern Germany full of confidence.
Kirichenko starred on Saturn's European bow in the second round first leg against Luxembourg's FC Etzella Ettelbrück, scoring four of his side's seven goals without reply. That haul coupled with his winner last week means the former PFC CSKA Moskva player tops the competition's goalscoring charts in its final year, but Kirichenko says it is team and not individual accomplishments which matter to him most. "Well, that's nice, but that is just an addition to the team's achievements," he added. "The most important thing is to win. All the statistics are secondary."
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