FC BATE Borisov are celebrating claiming a fourth successive Belarussian title following a 4-0 trouncing of FC Naftan Novopolotsk with owner Anatoliy Kapskiy saying "our work has been of the highest quality".
Party on hold
Last season's UEFA Champions League contenders took their sixth title in total with a mammoth five games to spare, having lost just twice all season – to FC Shakhtyor Soligorsk (3-2) and FC Dnepr-Transmash Mogilev (3-1). Naftan had no chance of stopping them on Monday night, with BATE coach Viktor Goncharenko claiming: "We played at pace and put huge pressure on our opponents. I really liked the way we played in the first half, but we still have five more league matches to play and four more in the UEFA Europa League so we have to save our celebrations for later."
Igor Shitov scored his side's third against Naftan in the 35th minute, and said: "I dedicate this victory to my family. This season has been very successful for me as I earned my place in the starting XI for BATE, the Under-21s and the senior national team. This is my first championship title, so it is special." Kapskiy is no newcomer to title champagne, but added: "I'm really happy. This is our sixth title but the feelings after another gold are still great. Our work has been of the highest quality."
After the final whistle, Goncharenko's players took a lap of honour but bigger celebrations may await if BATE can recover their composure in UEFA Europa League Group I, where they have lost to SL Benfica and Everton FC, and next welcome AEK Athens FC on 22 October. "I am an optimist," added Goncharenko. "If we had beaten Everton last Thursday then we would have a good chance to finish second in the group. We are not in a good position now, but anything can happen in football. We will do our best in the next matches."
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