Filip Mladenović's spectacular free-kick secured the Belarusian Super Cup for FC BATE Borisov as they kicked off new season with a 1-0 victory over FC Minsk.
Mladenović, 22, struck midway through the first half, catching Minsk and goalkeeper Vladimir Bushma cold. They were all bracing themselves for an effort from free-kick specialist Sergei Krivets when Mladenović stepped forward and sent a pinpoint shot over the wall and into the net. Bushma barely moved.
Minsk had no answer then or thereafter as BATE, Belarusian champions for eight years running, defended their advantage with relative ease. Yet before Mladenović struck it was Minsk, who won their first major trophy in May when they lifted the Belarusian Cup, who had made the running. They so nearly broke the deadlock, too, as Predrag Randzelović's inviting cross from the right somehow evaded Aleksandr Makas with the goal at his mercy.
BATE survived that chance, however, and once Serbian defender Mladenović found the net there was only going to be one winner. "We expected this kind of game," said BATE coach Aleksandr Yermakovich. "It is not just Krivets who can deliver set pieces in our team. Maksim Volodko, for example, is also good at free-kicks. There are a lot of options and us coaches like headaches like these."
The Borisov outfit begin their league defence in a fortnight with a trip to FC Shakhtyor Soligorsk.
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