By Dmitry Baranovsky
The game began in the rain, which didn’t promise sparkling football. Despite the weather, the dominance of the hosts was apparent by the middle of the first half, when BATE goalkeeper Andrey Gorbunov’s goal was under repeated attack. Valencia, which played well in the Spain Championship earlier this year, was clearly keen to create a solid victory. Jonas scored in the 26th minute, after a defender’s mistake, and a second goal came three minutes later, when Roberto Soldado realised a penalty kick (awarded for Artem Radkov’s foul in the penalty area).
After halftime, Algerian Sofiane Feghouli scored Spain’s third devastating goal in the 51st minute, ending all Borisov’s hopes with his precise kick. Nevertheless, the Belarusians refused to surrender and, within a couple of minutes, Renan Bressan had scored from the penalty area. Seven minutes from the end, Dmitry Mozolevsky took advantage of a gap in Spain’s defence to score BATE’s second goal. Alas, any hopes were soon crushed, with Feghouli scoring his team’s fourth goal before the final whistle. The previous meeting at Minsk’s Dynamo Stadium had finished with Valencia’s flawless win of 3:0.
BATE half-back Renan Bressan believes that the Borisov squad still has a chance of holding its head high. He muses, “We did well to score a couple of times in Spain but, unfortunately, made too many mistakes. There was no hope that a strong team like Valencia would let us get away with those. However, we can still fight on. BATE lost to a truly worthy rival and will next face a vital match against Lille. We’d like to win, achieving success in Munich, before leaving the group.”
After four matches, BATE occupies third position in Group F, behind Valencia and Bayern by three points.