Ten-man FK Ekranas survived a late onslaught to preserve a clean sheet against FC BATE Borisov as the first meeting between the champions of Lithuania and Belarus ended in a goalless draw.
BATE went into this UEFA Champions League third qualifying round first leg as favourites and justified that tag by dominating possession and stretching the hosts' defence to the limit. Yet, despite the 58th-minute dismissal of Marko Andjelković and a good deal of late pressure, the visitors were unable to establish an advantage ahead of the return in seven days' time.
BATE resorted to hopeful shots from range early on as they struggled to find a way through the resilient Ekranas rearguard. Aleksandr Yurevich and Dmitri Likhtarovich's aim was awry, while Oleg Patotski brought a fine save out of Emilijus Zubas on 28 minutes. The closest Ekranas came before the interval was when a header by Mantas Samusiovas was cleared off the goal line following Mauro Alonso's corner.
The game continued in a similar vein after the break, Patotski and Igor Shitov testing Zubas from distance, while towering defender Yegor Filipenko headed wide from a corner. Just before the hour-mark the game tipped further in BATE's favour when Andjelković was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Pavel Nekhaychik.
Down to ten men, Ekranas began to find themselves increasingly penned in their own half. Renan Bressan might have done better than fire wide after a promising counterattack, before Likhtarovich's powerful strike fizzed wide of the post.
BATE then had their two best chances in a three-minute spell, as Vitali Rodionov raced clear of the defence only to lob the ball over the crossbar, while Nekhaychik had a similar chance but failed to foil Zubas with his fancy footwork. Four minutes from time BATE again missed out when Artyom Kontsevoi's volley came back off a post.
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