FC BATE Borisov's UEFA Champions League ambitions have been dealt a hefty blow after Belarus striker Vitali Rodionov was ruled out for at least six months with a knee injury.
The 27-year-old ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in his right knee on Sunday, colliding with goalkeeper Dmitri Guschenko as he equalised in the 2-2 Belarusian Premier League draw with FC Dinamo Minsk. Heavy swelling means he will have to rest for four to six weeks before undergoing reconstructive surgery. The forward is not likely to return to action until late March.
Rodionov will therefore miss the UEFA Champions League group stage and the conclusion of BATE's Premier League title defence – Viktor Goncharenko's side are nine points clear with ten games to go. He will also sit out the climax to Belarus's UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying campaign, with the national team in contention for second place in Group D.
Artyom Kontsevoi (groin) and Aleksandr Yurevich (torn ankle ligament) also picked up knocks against Dinamo Minsk, adding to an injury list already featuring Evgeni Kuntsevich, Dmitri Likhtarovich and Aleksandr Pavlov. BATE launch their UEFA Champions League bid with a trip to FC Viktoria Plzeň on 14 September; FC Barcelona and AC Milan also await them in Group H.
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