Minsk used its only chance

Belarus’ European Cup assets reduced by three-quarter. Dinamo Minsk knocked out of Europa League after away draw against Trabzonspor, while Minsk FC continues its European Cup seaso
By Igor Leshin

The head coach of Dinamo Minsk, Robert Maaskant, has commented on the away match of his team, saying, “Trabzonspor had a great many chances to score yet failed to do so, continuing the intrigue of the match. The difference between the teams was obvious, especially when players were replaced. When we sent Bykov onto the field, Trabzonspor sent on Malouda, who has great experience in the European arena. We had the chance to distinguish ourselves yet did not.”

Few believed that Minsk FC would be able to beat Scotland, yet Vadim Skripchenko’s team have claimed victory, bringing them just one step from the Europa League Group Stage. After their defeat in Grodno (0:1) Vadim Skripchenko’s trainees won in Perth with the same score (1:0) and then claimed victory in a series of penalty shoot-outs — 3:2. The whole match represented a tough struggle, with both teams on the attack and several penalties awarded. For a long time, the guests weren’t able to make the decisive stroke; however, 15 minutes before the final whistle, their persistence was rewarded, with Minsk’s Serbian legionary Miloš Rnić scoring. No more goals were forthcoming, and Minsk goalkeeper Vladimir Bushma saved potential goals during a penalty shoot-out, defending his net from two kicks from a distance of just 11m.

After the match, Mr. Skripchenko noted that he believed his team deserved their victory, despite their home defeat. He especially praised Vladimir Bushma’s saving of the match during the penalty shoot-out, which leaves Minsk FC as the last remaining team competing in European level tournaments.

The play-off round continental club tournament draw, at the UEFA Headquarters in Swiss Nyon, has determined the contenders for the Europa League Group Stage. Minsk will play a two round duel against Belgian Standard, from Liege: initially in Grodno on August 22nd and a return match  on August 29th, on the field of the Belgian club.
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