Three years after claiming their maiden national cup, FC Naftan Novopolotsk have lifted the trophy again to earn UEFA Europa League qualification, after defeating FC Minsk on penalties following a 2-2 draw.
The final proved to be a great match, with both teams playing good, attacking football. Naftan struck the first blow on 26 minutes, Oleg Shkabara firing a powerful free-kick into the top corner from 25 metres out. Minsk pulled level just after the break, as Roman Vasilyuk converted a good pass by Andrei Razin. The second period was to feature two more goals as Fedor Černych restored Naftan's lead before Leonid Kovel squared the match at 2-2.
Neither side could take their chances in extra time, and the match moved to penalties. Naftan goalkeeper Nikolai Romanyuk was the hero, saving from both Vasilyuk and Aleksandr Makas to help his team to the trophy.
Naftan coach Igor Kovalevich said: "To survive 120 minutes in such hot weather is a huge achievement. We have Nikolai Romanyuk, we knew that he would save some spot-kicks. I didn't name the players who took the penalties, however, the team decided all that."
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