Bright football holiday at Borisov-Arena
BATE Borisov faces Italian Milan, with veterans from both clubs appearing in a friendly match at Borisov-Arena
Commemorative photo after the match
Before the match at Borisov-Arena, indicator panels and screens inside the country’s top stadium showed a documentary dedicated to BATE’s 20th anniversary. The stadium then hosted the ceremonial removal of the jersey of BATE’s long-serving captain, Dmitry Likhtarovich, for placement under the roof of Borisov-Arena. The founder of the football club, Anatoly Kapsky, announced that the number two jersey, under which Likhtarovich performed as captain for his whole career would be retired in honour of his service.
Dmitry Likhtarovich is the only footballer to have become Belarus’ champion 12 times. He boasts three Cups and five Supercups of Belarus. He played for BATE between 2002 and 2015, across 22 seasons in the highest league, and now coaches the reserve Borisov squad.
The match wasn’t particularly dynamic, although both teams obviously wished to win, resulting in a light skirmish after a clash on the pitch, for which a BATE player received a yellow card. The only goal was scored by Gennady Bliznyuk, forward for Zhodino Torpedo-BelAZ, who grabbed his chance following a series of ricochets and confusion in Milan’s penalty area. Bliznyuk has just replaced the current head coach of BATE, Alexander Yermakovich, and scored from a distance of 17m.
The Borisov squad included Victor Goncharenko, Alexander Yermakovich, Yuri Zhevnov and other famous footballers, while Milan was represented by Franco Baresi, Daniele Massaro and other stars. Vitaly Kutuzov of Belarus, who started his career with BATE but later moved to Italian clubs, was claimed by both teams as ‘their own’. Before the tournament, he was registered as a member of both Belarusian and Italian squads.
After the match, Borisov veterans coach Yuri Puntus couldn’t hide his joy, saying, “Today we’ve taken revenge on Milan for our defeat in 2001; now, we can sleep easily.”
By Kirill Karin