We could have won

BATE Borisov lets victory slip away in last minutes of first match against Paris Saint-Germain during Europa League 1/16 finals

By Yuri Kovalev

It is the first time that the Belarusian team has gone so far in its European Cup achievements. While this is pleasing, BATE is no match for PSG in terms of physical and playing readiness. This can be easily explained, since it’s currently off-season in Belarus, while the French national championship is half way through its matches. Moreover, BATE Borisov cannot match PSG’s level of mastery. The latter boasts an impressive list of achievements in European cups compared to the Belarusian team. BATE’s highest achievement to date has been participation in the 2008 UEFA Champions League Group Stage.

Meanwhile, the Parisian football players won the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1996 and the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2002.
BATE, which began the season unusually early, at first led 2:0 in the home match, yet had to be satisfied with a draw. Our guests were more pleased, since their two goals had been scored in an away match. “As I said at the pre-match conference, in order to preserve a good chance of going through to the next round, we needed to score,” reminded Antoine Kombouare, PSG’s coach, who watched the match from a guest box because of disqualification. “We’ve done this twice. However, I believe that the return match will be very difficult for us.”

BATE coach Victor Goncharenko noted, “The result didn’t disappoint us. I’m pleased that we strengthened our efforts in the second half. Overall, we played well.” Nevertheless, the home draw has not increased our chance of reaching the 1/8 finals. To move forward, the Borisov players need to show heroism. These Belarusian football leaders have a good example before them. “In Paris, we’ll try to play as the national squad, which defeated the French in September. Nothing’s impossible; I do believe we can win,” underlines Mr. Goncharenko.

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