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Crvena zvezda - BATE Borisov 1:1 (0:0)

Crvena zvezda returned to Europa League group stage with a home draw with FC BATE of Belarus. Nemanja Radonjić scored to give Zvezda the lead eight minutes after the break, but Signevich levelled for the visitors 20 minutes from time.

Ground: Rajko Mitić Stadium
Attendance: 40,284
Referee: (Ukraine)
Goalscorers: Radonjić 53' – Signevich 72'


Crvena zvezda: Borjan, Stojković, Savić, Le Tallec, Rodić, Krstičić, Donald, Srnić, Kanga, Radonjić, Boakye.
Substitutes: Kahriman, Frimpong, Gobeljić, Milijaš, Adžić, Ricardinho, Pešić

FC BATE: Scherbitski, Gaiduchik, A Volodko, Ivanić, Rios, Milunović, Rodionov, Dragun, Stasevich, Polyakov, Gordeichuk.
Substitutes: Vermenko, Yablonski, Berezkin, Signevich, Tuominen, Baga, M Volodko

Vladan Milojević had everyone apart from the injured Branko Jovičić available, and he picked an attacking-looking starting eleven. BATE looked a very organized side and their experience showed in this even match.

It took our team around 20 minutes to start playing their usual game. This is something Head Coach Vladan Milojević addressed in his post-match comments when he said that it wasn't a result of nerves. He got his message across to the players and they took it on board and started to pass the ball around very well, always searching for openings.

Nemanja Radonjić had a few fine runs down the left flank, but he couldn't get any of the shots on target, coming very close on one occasion then his strong shot flew just over the crossbar. Richmond Boakye did his part of a lone striker very well, shielding the ball and distributing it to his team-mates. He was able to get into a couple of half-chances, but he couldn't really come close to scoring.

The visitors looked dangerous on the counter-attack as their players made the best of every stray ball and interception, running in their numbers to create opportunities for quick through passes and one-twos. The Barysaw side hit Borjan's crossbar after one of such attacks.

Second half offered more entertainment and excitement on either side. The red-and-whites showed great desire around the pitch and were charging forward looking for a goal. And they grabbed the lead on 53 minutes when Donald sprayed a wonderful pass to the onrushing Slavoljub Srnić on the right flank. The little winger whipped a pinpoint low cross that evaded all defenders and reached Radonjić to tap in on the far post and bring joy to more than forty thousand fans in the stadium.

The Belgrade team wouldn't stop after taking the lead and went for the second goal that would have probably been the crucial moment of the match. But Srnić, Radonjić, Kanga and Boakye all missed good chances in a frantic 15-minute spell in front of Sherbitski's net.

As it usually happens in football, you get punished for missing good chances, and unfortunately, it happened in this match. BATE's Serbian midfielder Mirko Ivanić hit a cross that found Nikolai Signevich who had an easy task of heading home unmarked from close range. It was 1-1 with around 20 minutes left to play.

Milojević's men remained positive and were attacking with the fans firmly behind them. There were half-chances, free kicks, openings, but FC BATE players held firm and continued to defend well and occasionally try a quick counter-attack.

It finished 1-1, though, and Crvena zvezda players will probably feel that they should have won here. However, even if they only drew, they should be proud with their efforts. This was acknowledged by the fans, who gave their team a long applause after the final whistle.

Elsewhere in Group H, Arsenal beat Köln 3-1 in London.

Next up for Crvena zvezda in this competition is a trip to Köln's RheinEnergie Stadion, but before that there are three Superliga matches to play and try to win maximum points.



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