Three Belarusian teams play qualification round matches in Europa and Champions leagues
Ambiguous victory to begin
Belarus’ football champions, Borisov BATE, have made a successful start in the Champions’ League. Playing at home, the team defeated Ireland’s Dundalk — 2:1 — in the first match of the second qualification round. Despite the BATE fans’ expectations, the Irish team played an aggressive game which brought them close to success in the first few minutes. David McMillan had an excellent opportunity to open the score for Ireland but failed. In the 11th minute, after Vitaly Rodionov’s pass, Alexander Karnitsky rushed to up the goal and made the score 1:0. The situation changed quickly: the Irish continued their attacks and eventually succeeded. McMillan used the Belarusian goalkeeper Sergey Chernik’s save to score. Six minutes later, Yevgeny Yablonsky’s goal was truly unexpected; in fact, it almost didn’t happen. After the Belarusian’s pass, the ball ricocheted from an Irish defender to slide past Dundalk’s goalkeeper, Gary Rogers, showing the final score: no other goal chances were created before or after the break. The subject of the most scandalous transfer in recent months, Nemanja Nikolic, wasn’t able to change the situation. The Montenegrin player moved from Minsk Dinamo to BATE to make his debut at the Champions’ League but unfortunately only gained attention due to his kick at the Dundalk defender’s back. In the post match interview, BATE’s head coach, Alexander Yermakovich, stressed that, despite the win, the team will approach the away match with caution.
Dinamo’s battling draw
The first match of the Europa League’s second qualification round, played by Minsk Dinamo against Bulgaria’s Cherno More away, was ended by Vuk Rasovic’s trainees with a draw. The Bulgarian footballers opened the score with a goal from Matias Kurer in the 11th minute. Until the break, the Minskers failed to create any serious threat for the hosts but managed to score in the second half. Captain Sergey Politevich realised one of the few goal moments but there were no further opportunities before the final whistle. The result looks positive for the Belarusian footballers. Even taking into account the return match which will be played at home, this away draw is a satisfactory start, allowing Mr. Rasovic’s team to pass through to the next round.
No groundwork laid
In the first match of the Europa League’s second qualification round, Soligorsk Shakhtyor was defeated by Austrian Wolfsberger — 0:1. During the match played at Soligorsk’s Stroitel stadium, Shakhtyor needed to lay the groundwork before its return match in Austria. The team, led by Sergey Nikiforenko, played decisively but failed to score. Had the Belarusian team continued playing as in the first half, the final result would have been different. However, Shakhtyor lost its momentum in the 62nd minute taking advantage of its rivals’ exhaustion, Jacobo Ynclán opened the score to make it 0:1. The Soligorsk team still has ambitions. Playing at home, our footballers proved that they can rival the Austrians. We look forward to the return match with even more anticipation.
By Kirill Karin