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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Dynamo Kiev Favorites For Commonwealth Cup




European Cup quarterfinalists Dynamo Kiev is the star draw for this year's Commonwealth Cup that starts Saturday.


The Ukrainian champion, led by the irascible Valery Lobanovsky, will be the favorite to win the competition that pits all 15 champions of the former Soviet republics as well as the Russian national junior team.


Lobanovsky, who last week was quoted by Reuters as saying that he wouldn't have World player of the year Ronaldo in his side, has transformed his side into one of the most feared in Europe.


Last year, the Ukrainians edged Spartak Moscow 3-2 in a thrilling final and the Muscovites are likely again to be Dynamo's main contender for the title.


Both teams will also want to use this tournament as preparation for European competition. In early March, Spartak faces Ajax in the quarterfinals of the UEFA Cup while Dynamo entertains Juventus in the European Cup.


An added incentive for both teams will be last Sunday's qualifying draw for the European championships in 2000, which placed Russia and Ukraine in the same group.


With Dynamo making up the bulk of Ukraine's national side and Spartak having several players on the Russian squad, the competition will serve as an early indication of which country has the better chance of getting through.