FC BATE Borisov recorded their maiden UEFA Champions League group stage win at the 13th attempt as a trio of first-half goals stunned LOSC Lille.
Embarking on their third campaign in the UEFA Champions League proper, the visitors from Belarus caught their Group F hosts absolutely cold with a lesson in pragmatism and clinical finishing. Aleksandr Volodko's long-range strike set the tone after six minutes and both Vitali Rodionov and Edgar Olekhnovich followed up ahead of the break, before Aurélien Chedjou's second-half header reduced the deficit. Les Dogues could not diminish it further and will need an altogether improved performance at Valencia CF on 2 October, when BATE welcome FC Bayern München, fellow opening-night winners.
Early attempts from Salomon Kalou and Florent Balmont fitted well with the pre-match talk of a LOSC side determined to start on the right foot, but that ambition quickly evaporated against ruthless opponents. The evening's first surprise was not long in coming at all, in fact, Volodko collecting a pass from Maksim Bordachev and sending a superb shot looping over Mickaël Landreau from 20 metres out.
It was, LOSC hoped, a blip. Instead, it was a portent of worse to come. Eager to work their way back into the game, Rudi Garcia's men were sliced apart on the counterattack as Aleksandr Hleb skipped past Chedjou and fed the ball left to Aleksandr Pavlov, who then squared for Rodionov to steer in.
Marvin Martin, Mathieu Debuchy and Dimitri Payet all unleashed retaliatory efforts, but it was the intention that drew applause rather than the threat. BATE still looked the more dangerous team and they landed a third devastating blow close to half-time, Olekhnovich allowed space for a second chance to finish after Landreau had parried his first shot to Volodko.
Garcia threw Nolan Roux and Ryan Mendes into the mix after the break – withdrawing Túlio De Melo and Martin – and his side finally got themselves on the scoreboard when Chedjou's header from a Payet corner hit the crossbar and just about bounced over the line. Suddenly, Les Dogues were given a glimmer of hope, and Mendes forced Andrei Gorbunov to save at his near post before the goalkeeper scrambled to the ground to deny Payet.
Gorbunov also did well to keep out a rasping Balmont attempt with his legs as LOSC attempted to ramp up the pressure. It dissipated just as quickly, however, and Viktor Goncharenko's BATE held on for the win in relative comfort. So much for unlucky 13.
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