Just the beginning
BATE Borisov loses to Spanish Valencia in third match of Champions League Group Stage — 0:3 — but continues to be a candidate for play-offs
By Sergey Atkinson
Belarus’ champion is causing a stir, performing well despite being an underdog. In its two previous matches, BATE sensationally defeated French Lille in an away match (3:1) and then German Bayern at home (3:1). On arriving in Minsk, the head coach of Valencia, Mauricio Pellegrino, noted that, after such results, his team would be unwise to underestimate its rival.
The teams met as worthy opponents and, despite losing, BATE proved itself the equal of Valencia. The first half saw players on both sides struggling for supremacy. If BATE had managed to open the score, (as it did in its two previous matches) the game may have played out differently; of course, such matters can be speculated upon endlessly.
In extra time at the end of the first half, Borisov lost sight of Spanish forward Soldado in their penalty area and BATE defender Marko Simić committed a foul. The referee awarded a penalty and Soldado sent the ball perfectly into the net; both sides later admitted that the goal probably determined the outcome of the match.
In the second half, BATE had the chance to score, with Vitaly Rodionov taking aim at his opponent’s net. Sadly, luck was not on his side and, in a counterattack, the Spaniards scored their second goal, followed by a third. Valencia defeated BATE via quick counterattacks and efficient defence.
However, BATE is not downhearted, still having a good chance of reaching the next stage. Over the last four years, it has made massive progress, leading us to believe that more success lies ahead for the determined Borisov squad.