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Preparing to face AC Milan for the second time in a fortnight, FC BATE Borisov coach Viktor Goncharenko remains upbeat as his team chase a first win in the UEFA Champions League proper at the tenth time of asking.
Goals from Kevin-Prince Boateng and Zlatan Ibrahimović gave the Rossoneri a 2-0 home win against BATE in their last Group H meeting on 19 October. For Goncharenko, though, inspiration can be drawn ahead of Tuesday's Minsk return from BATE's first UEFA Champions League campaign, when they held Juventus 2-2 in September 2008 having led 2-0.
"My best memory from that Champions League season is our home game against Juventus," said Goncharenko, 34. "The atmosphere in the stadium was exciting and it was a lively game.
That was our second match and I really hoped it would go the same way against Barcelona at the same stage this time, but it didn't."
That fixture against the holders brought a 5-0 home defeat, yet also provided an important lesson for Brazilian playmaker Renan Bressan and his team-mates. "In the first 15 minutes it was hard," said Bressan. "We had a mental problem. We saw Lionel Messi and Xavi Hernández – people we had seen only on TV before. Suddenly we were playing against them.
"It is only the first ten or 15 minutes that you stare. After that we did not care whether it was Messi or Daniel Alves – we were just doing our best for BATE. You become calmer and start playing your own football." BATE's defensive display at San Siro on matchday three may have been much improved but, with just a point from their opening three fixtures, the rematch is key.
"We need to win," added Bressan. "If we don't try to do our utmost, there is no point going on the pitch at all. Milan are a great club, just like Barcelona, but Barcelona are stronger. The fans are waiting and so is the country. We'll play our best and after 90 minutes we'll see what the outcome is."
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