Lost as they could
Anticipation better than reality regarding friendly Bulgaria-Belarus match
By Yuri Bakerenko
The first meeting in this year looked more promising than most of those we saw last season. Sadly, despite being equally matched, the score finished on a disappointing 1:2 defeat for Belarus, watched by just 4,000 rain-soaked fans in the 43,000 capacity Vasil Levski Stadium. It was so quiet that you could hear individual conversations between spectators and between the coaches and their players!
Our performance was rather like the weather: wet! Initially, the Belarusian squad appeared to have swallowed sleeping pills. They woke up a little in the second half and managed a goal on a crazy ricochet but, in truth, the first match of the season was a failure.
Coach Georgy Kondratiev would, no doubt, admit that most of the squad are not on peak form at present, since it’s outside of the main season. However, it is disturbing, since our national team will be taking part in the qualifying round for the 2016 European Championship this autumn. Exhausted by a long season, they surely won’t be at their best. If they repeat their Sofia performance, their dreams of reaching the actual tournament will remain just that.
Georgy Kondratiev, the head coach of the national team of Belarus:
It was the worst match for the team under my management. For some reason, the players appeared unready; for the first 25 minutes, they played terribly. I have to admit that the team from Bulgaria deserved to win. We played horribly at the very beginning. When our wingbacks received the ball, they needed to deliver it forward to Hleb and Rodionov; however, they kept passing back! Our rival repeatedly blocked us and was on better physical form, while also playing ‘at home’. We weren’t ready for their aggressive play and it’s given us much to consider. We have no right to continue playing so badly.