By Yuri Karpenko
Belarus’ champion has confirmed its ambitions plans — announced late this summer — to reach the next round of the 2010/2011 Europa League. BATE has played four matches in Group E without losing, gaining ten points and dropping no lower than second place.
The match between the Belarusian and Moldovan champions at Minsk’s Dynamo stadium was tough, as it was two weeks ago in Tiraspol. There, the Borisov team won 1:0, with central defenseman Sergey Sosnovsky showing his mettle early in the match. In Minsk, the Belarusian club also dominated at the start, with Vitaly Rodionov scoring a quick goal. The guests then became more aggressive, threatening Sergey Veremko’s net several times.
Eventually, Sheriff’s Russian legionary, Alexander Yerokhin, equalised the score. After halftime, Tiraspol seized the initiative, creating some dangerous moments for the Belarusians, though failing to actually score. Meanwhile, BATE used every chance to counter-attack. Alexander Pavlov scored in the 70th minute and, five minutes later, Renan Bressan aimed his penalty kick well, bringing the score to 3:1.
With Dynamo Kiev’s win over Alkmaar (2:0) in the parallel match, the Minsk success has guaranteed the Borisov squad a ticket to the 1/16 finals (ahead of the two matches yet to be played before the group stage finishes). BATE head coach Victor Goncharenko is usually calm and clear-headed but, at the after match press conference, showed his excitement, saying, “It’s difficult to assess what a great job we’ve done. We’re thankful to our fans; they stayed in the stands after the final whistle, applauding for a long time. I hope TV viewers also admired our play. I’m so grateful to the squad for their amazing desire to win and advance through the tournament. With such experienced players as Alexander Yurevich and Dmitry Likhtarovich, we can take on the world. As regards the match itself, we managed to cope with our rivals’ strength while taking advantage of their weaknesses.”
At the next match of the group stage, held on December 2nd, BATE is to play Kiev at home, while Dutch АZ is to play an away match against Moldova. On the final day, December 15th, the Borisov team will go to Holland, while Kiev will host a match between Dynamo and Sheriff.