Dynamo Kiev signs Blokhin as coach for 4 years

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KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -Dynamo Kiev signed Ukraine national team coach Oleh Blokhin to lead the club for the next four years on Tuesday.

Blokhin replaces Yuri Semin, the Russian who was fired on Monday following four losses in Dynamo's past five games. The team was beaten 4-1 by French club Paris Saint-Germain in its Champions League opener and lost by the same score to main rival Shakhtar Donetsk in the Ukraine Cup.

Dynamo President Ihor Surkis said that "after two consecutive defeats with a big score, there was no other choice."

Blokhin, a Dynamo great who was voted Europe's best player in 1975, will continue to lead Ukraine in the World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Montenegro in October before switching fully to club coaching.

"I'm ready to work 24/7 to reach this goal," Blokhin said. "The team needs to spread its wings. We cannot lose 4-1 all the time. It's too much for Dynamo Kiev."

The 59-year-old Blokhin started his coaching career in Greece with Olympiakos in 1990, winning two Greek Cups in three years. He took charge of Ukraine in 2003 and eventually led the team to the 2006 World Cup quarterfinals in Germany before losing to eventual champion Italy.

He stood down in 2007 after Ukraine failed to qualify for the 2008 European Championship, but was reappointed in April 2011 following a coaching stint with Dinamo Moscow and after holding an executive position at Chornomorets Odessa.

Dynamo was a consistent European contender from the 1970s to 90s, winning two Cup Winners' Cup titles and the Super Cup, but the team has failed to meet those standards in recent years.

Dynamo hasn't won a league title since 2009 under Semin. Before the current campaign, the club hadn't made the Champions League group stage since the 2008-09 season, when it failed to advance.

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