Winning in summer to play in autumn

BATE Borisov and Dinamo Minsk pass major European cup qualification rounds

BATE Borisov and Dinamo Minsk pass major European cup qualification rounds

BATE golden autumn

Borisov BATE has defeated Hungarian Videoton in its second match, securing a place in the group stage of the Europa League, and has hopes of reaching the Champions League.

BATE proven to be stronger than Videoton. Photo: Alexander Kulevsky

Hungarian Videoton, being only modest in ability, was an ‘easy defeat’ for BATE. In fact, there could easily have been three or four goals for the Borisov team had their used all their opportunities and avoided rattled nerves. In the 82nd minute, Nemanja Nikolic headed the ball into the Hungarian net. Montenegrin halfback Nikolic is a real asset to the squad. Last August, playing for Minsk Dinamo at Borisov-Arena, he scored against Portugal’s national team.

Another key moment in the match was the removal of Hungarian fullback Kees Luijckx, in the 60th minute. The red card secured victory for BATE, as head coach Alexander Yermakovich admits. He notes, “It’s much more difficult to attack when you’re in the minority. In the first match, we scored, but psychologically gave back the initiative which was dangerous. It’s much more difficult to keep the ball when your team is playing in the minority, as Videoton would surely agree.” Hungarian halfback Istvan Kovacs tells us, “The 0:0 score after the first half allowed us to hope for a place in the play-offs. We only needed one goal, but losing a player sealed our fate.”

Victorious draw

Minsk Dinamo ended the return match in the third qualification round of the Europa League by drawing against Swiss Zurich — 1:1. This enables the Belarusian squad to continue in the play off rounds of the second most important European Cup tournament. The match in Brest lasted for over 120 minutes.

In the fourth minute, the Zurich team sent a ball past our goalkeeper, Alexander Gutor. Taking into account the game in Switzerland, the score was equalised. Then Dinamo spent the rest of the match trying to ‘catch up’.  However, its equaliser came in the 118th minute, thanks to Fatos Beqiraj, with a corner kick. During the last four minutes, the Swiss failed to score again, and lost their chance of going through to the next round of the Europa League.

Dinamo players fight until the final whistle. Photo: Dmitry TKACHEV

New rivals

Swiss Nyon hosted a draw in the play offs for the Champions League and Europa League. The Borisov and Minsk teams both learnt their rivals whom they will face while trying to qualify for the tournament’s group stage. BATE Borisov, which has successfully overcome the third qualifying round of the Champions League, will meet Serbia’s champion, Partisan, on the Borisov field, on August 18th or 19th. The return match will be played on August 25th or 26th, in Serbia, with the loser continuing on in the second most significant European Cup tournament: the Europa League.

In the Europa League play offs, Minsk Dinamo is to face Austrian Red Bull, from Salzburg, with the first match hosted by Dinamo, on August 20th; the return will be played in Austria on August 7th.

By Kirill Karin
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