Final whistle captures football team in attack
Coach Alexander Khatskevich’s debut match brings away win over Macedonia — 2:1
The new coach of the national football team chose to play his most experienced men, as well as novice Ivan Maevsky, who performed worthily. The match began under rain and seemed to promise little success for the guest team from the earliest minutes, when the hosts attacked strongly.
National squad benefits from Alexander Hleb’s return. Photo: SERGEY NEVERKEVICH
In the 9th minute, Macedonia’s Alexander Traikovski sent a ball into Yuri Zhevnov’s net from a distance of 18m and, shortly after, captain Alexander Martynovich received a penalty card. The Macedonians continued attacking hard for another 15 minutes but failed to score again, while the Belarusians steadily grew accustomed to the field. From the 30th minute, they seemed to seize the initiative, largely thanks to Alexander Hleb and Timofey Kalachev, who allowed an equaliser in the 44th minute: Hleb outplayed several rivals with a high speed pass to Timofey. Using a passing shot, the latter scored from the middle distance into Tom Packovski’s goal, leaving the score at 1:1.
After halftime, the Belarusians demonstrated even more confident play, with Kornilenko, Kalachev, Kislyak and their partners making shots at goal. These either missed or were caught by the Macedonian goalkeeper but the Belarusians’ persistence brought their second goal in the 82nd minute. Anton Putilo (brought in as a substitute) shot from close by the net, and was rebuffed by Packovski, but the ball was immediately taken up by Sergey Kornilenko, closing the match with a score of 2:1.
After the match, Mr. Khatskevich noted that his trainees had set their hearts on victory in Skopje: an attitude that brought success and showed true fighting character (especially after the missed goal at the beginning of the match). The coach believes that the team and its fans deserve this long-expected victory.
By Igor Grishin