Georgians crush our hopes

Belarus’ national football team defeated by Georgians in 2014 World Cup qualifying match
By Dmitry Baranovsky

In Tbilisi, Georgy Kondtratiev’s trainees played well yet failed to keep their concentration. The game began sedately, as expected, but the hosts then began to play more aggressively, gaining several penalties and causing two forced substitutions for Belarus even before halftime. This considerably reduced our chance for tactical manoeuvres towards the end of the game. A third substitution was necessary when Yan Tigorev, who has just recovered from injury, was removed from the field in the second half.

Our squad had the chance to open the score but was interrupted in its attacks and, seven minutes after halftime, Georgian Tornike Okriashvili sent the ball directly into the net’s far corner, having outmanoeuvred three of our players in the penalty area. The goalkeeper of the Belarusian national team, Sergey Veremko, who wore the captain’s armband, failed to save the shot, leaving his squad 1:0 down.

After the goal, Georgy Kondtratiev’s trainees redoubled their efforts but to no avail. To move on, Belarus must now defeat the French in an away game at whatever cost.

“Evidently, this wasn’t our day,” noted Mr. Kondratiev, sharing his impressions of the game. “It would’ve been difficult playing the French regardless but, now, our task is becoming even more complicated, due to player problems. Neither Nekhaichik nor Zhavnerchik can help us in Paris and it’s likely that Tigorev will be ‘on the sidelines’ — although his injury isn’t terrible so he’ll probably be able to play. One thing is clear: we had little chance of going through to the next stage before but the odds have now worsened!”

Belarus will have its second match of the 2014 World Cup qualifying tournament on September 11th in Paris.
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