BATE through to next round of Europa League
The Borisov footballers lost to Lille in the fifth match of the Champions League Group Stage, which was decisive for both teams — although in different ways. Victory by a wide enough margin would enable the French club to continue its performance in the EuroCup while BATE’s victory would bring it to the Champions League play-offs. Sadly, neither dream was fulfilled
By Vladimir Dmitriev
After victory over Bayern and a rather good performance in the Champions League Group Stage, BATE and its fans were undoubtedly hoping to see the team continue along its path to the strongest squads of Europe. Everything was going well against their modest French rival, with a more than confident win for BATE of 3:1; however, their home match proved a disappointment. Thick fog over the Dynamo Stadium in Minsk and the pressure of performing to a home crowd may have shaken the team. The French seized the initiative, scoring in the 14th minute; a rare counterattack by the French finished with a perfect kick by Djibril Sidibй, from the right corner of Andrey Gorbunov’s penalty area — bringing the score to 0:1.
BATE had several chances of pushing forward and could have even taken the lead, at least three times threatening Steeve Elana’s net, but attacks by Alexander Volodko, Edgar Olekhnovich and Vitaly Rodionov failed to succeed. Lille counterattacked, with Belgian legionary Gianni Bruno converting a pass from Lucas Digne into a goal. The situation continued in the same vein after halftime, with both sides vying for supremacy yet without more goals scored. Even the sending off of Djibril Sidibй didn’t help Belarus change the score. The French, meanwhile, were eager to score at least once more to keep their place in the Europa League.
BATE is through to the Europa League play-offs and should learn some lessons from its match. Head coach Victor Goncharenko, Belarus’ nine-time champion, notes that his trainees ‘failed to play at Champions League level’. In the first half, Borisov had perfect opportunities to equalise but failed to do so; the players’ strength seemed exhausted.
BATE’s last match in this Champions League will be held on December 5th in Munich, against local Bayern.