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Season review: Belarus

Published: Monday 5 December 2011, 14.45CET
Coach Viktor Goncharenko admitted "it wasn't always an easy ride" but FC BATE Borisov nonetheless won a sixth straight Belarusian title, while promoted FC Gomel took the cup spoils.
by Denis Orlov
from Minsk
Season review: Belarus
BATE celebrate their title success ©Pressball
Published: Monday 5 December 2011, 14.45CET

Season review: Belarus

Coach Viktor Goncharenko admitted "it wasn't always an easy ride" but FC BATE Borisov nonetheless won a sixth straight Belarusian title, while promoted FC Gomel took the cup spoils.

FC BATE Borisov, helped in no small part by the hugely influential Renan Bressan, once again took the spoils in the Belarusian Premier League. Promoted FC Gomel, meanwhile, surprised in both the league and cup.

Champions: FC BATE Borisov
Now firmly established as the flagship club of Belarus, Viktor Goncharenko's team negotiated the season in serene fashion to secure a sixth successive title. They did so with four games to spare and despite picking up a solitary point in their last two fixtures they finished the campaign with an impressive record – most wins (18), fewest defeats (3), most goals (53) and fewest conceded (20).

Cup final: FC Gomel 2-0 FC Neman Grodno
Two late own goals gave promoted Gomel their first trophy since 2003. The showpiece looked to be heading for extra time until Pavel Rybak (87) and Aleksandr Kovalenko (90) unwittingly turned into their own net. "It is a landmark win," said Gomel coach Oleg Kubarev.

European places*
FC BATE Borisov – UEFA Champions League qualifying
FC Shakhtyor Soligorsk – UEFA Europa League qualifying
FC Gomel – UEFA Europa League qualifying
2012 Belarusian Cup winner – UEFA Europa League qualifying

*Subject to final confirmation from UEFA

Player of the year: Renan Bressan (FC BATE Borisov)
UEFA.com's pick for the season's star performer, Bressan has emerged as a true leader during his time at BATE. Still only 23, the Brazilian was ever-present in the league, top scoring with 13 goals as well as contributing ten assists. Eager to attack, technically superb and a quick thinker, it is hard to imagine BATE without him.

One to watch: Artem Solovei (FC Torpedo Zhodino)
Not an official award winner, Solevoi has nonetheless enjoyed an eye-catching campaign. Despite only turning 21 in November, he has established himself as a key figure for Torpedo, finding the net 11 times to finish second behind Bressan in the Premier League scoring charts. A lively, mobile player, full of skill and agility, Solevoi looks to have the lot.

Surprise package: FC Gomel
Kubarev's men surprised not only with a cup triumph, but also with a top-three finish in their first season back in the top flight. A great blend within the team proved crucial, helping Gomel avoid defeat by BATE in all three of their encounters. Gomel were a particular force at home, picking up 38 of a possible 54 points.

Leading scorer: Renan Bressan (FC BATE Borisov) 13

Number: 66
Matches won by away teams during the course of the season; home sides triumphed on 65 occasions, with 67 draws.

Relegated: FC Dnepr Mogilev, FC Vitebsk

Promoted: FC Slavia Mozyr, FC Partizan Minsk

Quote
"It wasn't always an easy ride, but we looked at our mistakes and brought new ideas into training. It's obvious but if you start well it makes life more comfortable closer to the finish. Personally I'm calm about the trophies as I try not to live for one day, but to think several steps ahead."
BATE coach Goncharenko reflects on his side's season.

Last updated: 19/01/12 12.27CET

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