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Another European stalemate

Red Star Belgrade drew 0-0 at FC BATE in a match Belgrade club probably deserved to win. The result from Cologne, where the hosts beat Arsenal means the three teams will battle for qualification from Europa League Group H on the last matchday.

Ground: Borisov-Arena, Baryshaw
Attendance: 8,000
Referee: Svein Oddvar Moen (Norway)


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

Crvena zvezda: Borjan, Stojković, Le Tallec, Savić, Rodić, Donald, Krstičić, Kanga, Srnić, Milić, Boakye
Substitutes: Supić, Babić, Gobeljić, Račić, Milijaš, Adžić, Pešić.

First half yielded no real chances, although our team has created a few openings. Unfortunately, there wasn‘t enough composure in the final third to make them count on a chilly evening in Belarus.

There was a header from Srnić as well as a handful of long-range attempts, but none of these were troubling Denis Scherbitski.

BATE‘s best chance came shortly after the restart. Gordeichuk was played in on the right-hand side of the box, but he blasted wide from a good position.

Zvezda players, clad in their all-white „European“ kit dominated the proceedings for the rest of the game, but yet again the Belarus champions proved hard to break.

Arguably the best moment of the match came on 50 minutes when Rodić took a touch on the edge of the box before unleashing a dipping half-volley that hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced clear. So unlucky for the full-back. That would have been a fantastic goal and a great way to take full control of the match. It wasn‘t to be.

It was Rodić again who came close with 20 minutes remaining when he leaped and got to the ball after a corner, but his header wasn‘t good enough and it missed the target.

Ghanaian striker Richmond Boakye has had a chance of his own despite being marked tightly for the entire match. He escaped defenders with some clever movement and got to a floated cross from Nenad Krstičić, but his header was kept out by Scherbitski.

Just as the game looked like ending with no drama, Zvezda provided some in the injury time. Scherbitski misjudged a corner and it fell nicely for Rodić whose shot  somehow evaded all the bodies in the way – apart from the last one on the goal line! BATE defended for their life and they managed to keep Red Star to a goalless draw.

The fight for qualification will go down to the wire now as FC BATE, 1.FC Koln and Crvena zvezda all have chances to join Arsenal in the knockout rounds. A win over the German team would guarantee that precious second spot to Zvezda, but a draw should be enough should FC BATE fail to win in North London.

It promises to be quite a day when the competition resumes on 7 December.


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