Dynamo, Valencia to play in neutral venue
© AFP

Dynamo Kiev and Valencia had to make last-minute travel arrangements for their Europa League last-32 tie after UEFA decided to switch the match to a neutral venue on Wednesday afternoon because of ongoing trouble in the Ukrainian capital.

The game will now take place at the GSP Stadium in Nicosia in Cyprus, UEFA announced on their official website. A statement on www.uefa.com, read: "FC Dynamo Kiev and Valencia CF's UEFA Europa League round of 32 opener will be played in Nicosia, Cyprus, due to the security situation in the Ukrainian capital."

Valencia president Amadeo Salvo admitted he was "satisfied" with the decision to hold the match at a neutral venue. He told valenciacf.com: "It would have been very difficult to play in Kiev. We had been guaranteed of our safety, but there are many things that you can't control and the best thing for all concerned is to play at a neutral ground.

"We are satisfied with the decision. Common sense has prevailed. The positions of UEFA, Dynamo Kiev and Valencia CF had to be considered. The most positive outcome is that we will not change the date of the game; we will simply arrive two hours later than planned. There will be no effect on the league calendar or to our training plan.

"We sincerely apologise to all those Valencianistas who were travelling to Kiev with the intention of supporting the club, and who had spent money and time on the journey. I can only say thank you to them, and advise them that we shall be in touch. We hope that they have the opportunity to watch Valencia CF play."

FC Dynamo Kiev got the better of Valencia last time the sides met at the same stage of the 2008/9 UEFA Cup with Yuri Semin's Dynamo moving past Unai Emery's Valencia on away goals following a 1-1 draw in Kiev and a 2-2 tie in Spain.

Injury issues
This time, the Spanish side have been hit with a couple of injuries with winger Pablo Piatti ruled out with a thigh injury and Philippe Senderos unlikely to figure with a muscle strain. Argentina international Piatti, 24, sustained the thigh tear in his right leg during a training session over the weekend and missed Valencia's goalless draw at Sevilla on Sunday as a result.

Piatti, who has scored five goals in 15 appearances in the Spanish La Liga this season, will be sidelined for up to five weeks, leaving coach Juan Antonio Pizzi seeking alternatives ahead of Thursday's trip and the return leg in Spain a week later.

Defender Senderos, who joined Valencia last month from Fulham, is also unlikely to play in Cyprus after suffering an adductor muscle strain against Sevilla. But Pizzi had a bit of good news ahead of the clash as Jeremy Mathieu returned to take part in the final training session on Wednesday, and was named in his 20-man squad to travel.

Dynamo president Ihor Surkis admitted he had to work fast to arrange travel for his team and staff, but ensured everything was taken care of.

After the decision was made to move the match to Cyprus, Surkis told fcdynamo.kiev.ua: "Today, UEFA gave us 45 minutes to ensure that (the) offer (of a) stadium outside Ukraine, meets all standards of the matches under the guidelines of UEFA.

"The first thing I did was call my friends in Cyprus and agreed. Now we urgently rent a plane and collect the delegation, including journalists, to the flight to Cyprus, which is scheduled for 21:00."