BATE wins, scoring twice against Athletic Bilbao, and breaking its run of defeat, spurring fans to raise hope once more after a frustrating start in the Champions League Group Stage
BATE footballers please fans worthily at last
The BATE-Athletic match was the first in the Champions League Group Stage, held at Borisov-Arena, with 11,000 fans eager to see their team break its run of six unanswered goals in the previous European Cup match. Afterwards, a consolatory draw match against their companions in misfortune from Dinamo Minsk (being previously defeated 6:1 by the Greek PAOK) took place but, actually, that was ‘an internal story’ which also brought no scores to BATE.
BATE fans had to hope that Athletic would come to Borisov with similar apprehensions, having endured two defeats and a draw across three matches in their national Primera tournament.Coach Ernesto Valverde vowed to claim three points in Belarus, to inspire his players to further endeavour. In fact, the bookmakers agreed with Valverde, giving odds of 5:1 against BATE’s win.
Vitaly Rodionov noted just before the match, “We understand that it’s important to pull ourselves out of the existing situation.” In fact, he had the opportunity to demonstrate great football in the 87th minute — replacing Alexander Karnitsky (who was playing one of his best matches).
Until then, other — primarily, Belarusian — footballers set the pace.
BATE Borisov head coach Alexander Yermakovich attempted to surprise everyone, using utterly new tactics. Despite the expectations of the Spaniards, who hoped for a dreary siege of the Belarusian fortress, from the first minutes, the Borisov players went on the attack.
In the 19th minute, Denis Polyakov scored our first goal, proving that BATE was focused on playing its best. Not long after, in the 31st minute, Nikolay Signevich’s kick was deflected by the crossbar, and Mikhail Gordeichuk also made a failed attempt — in the 39th minute. At last, Spanish goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz failed to stop Alexander Karnitsky’s slow shot at the net, and it became clear: BATE must win.
Of course, the Spaniards were attacking as well, with Aritz Aduriz scoring in the 45th minute, reviving the intrigue. In fact, this was the most dangerous moment offered by the Spanish squad, whose shots at goal lacked accuracy. BATE goalkeeper Sergey Chernik was able to stop them without dirtying his white uniform. Nevertheless, with Aduriz’s goal against them, the team could not afford to relax. A third goal almost came for BATE after halftime, when Volodko, Gordeichuk and, even, Yablonsky focused their efforts on attacking the opponent’s net.
In the last ten minutes of the match, BATE sent three fresh forwards onto the field but no more goals were forthcoming. The success of the Borisov footballers may mark a turning point in their game, with memories of six missed goals in the previous match now a distant nightmare, banished by the morning light.
Unfortunately, Dinamo Minsk footballers, playing in the Europe Cup, failed to continue BATE Borisov’s victorious start, losing the next day to Italian Fiorentina, at Borisov-Arena — 0:3.