LODZ, Poland (AP) — Dynamo Kyiv’s unlikely bid to qualify for the Champions League ran up against a tough Benfica team that won 2-0 in the first leg of their playoff on Wednesday.
Dynamo’s fifth game in Champions League qualifying in the past month was played in Poland because it cannot host UEFA games in Ukraine during the Russian invasion that started in February.
Benfica started strongly and led in the ninth minute when Brazilian defender Gilberto overlapped in attack to score with a rising shot.
Portugal Under-21 forward Gonçalo Ramos, a transfer target for several teams, doubled the lead in the 37th after taking a pass from David Neres.
Ramos, who scored a hat trick in the third qualifying round against Midtjylland, was replaced in the second half by former Dynamo forward Roman Yaremchuk.
Benfica hosts the second leg in Lisbon next Tuesday with a place in the lucrative group stage at stake.
Ukrainian team Shakhtar Donetsk has already qualified for the 32-team group stage.
In other playoff first-leg games Tuesday, Maccabi Haifa rallied to win 3-2 against Red Star Belgrade, the 1991 European Cup winner, and Qarabağ was held to a 0-0 draw by Viktoria Plzeň.
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The Associated Press