FC BATE Borisov's hopes of making the UEFA Champions League group stage for the third time in four seasons hang in the balance after they failed to find a way past a stubborn KS Skënderbeu side in their second qualifying round first leg.
The teams will reconvene in Albania next Tuesday with neither holding an advantage after a goalless 90 minutes in the New Borisov Arena. It was the visitors, aiming to repeat their third qualifying round appearance of last season, who threatened first. Nurudeen Orelesi whistled an effort at goal from 25 metres, forcing Sergei Chernik to expertly tip over.
Sergei Krivets replied for the hosts three minutes before the interval with an attempt from long range, but Orges Shehi athletically kept the score level. The Skënderbeu goalkeeper needed to be alert again just after the restart as he tipped another Krivets strike around the post, before plunging to his left to deny substitute Mikhail Gordeychuk's drive from 30 metres.
The momentum was with the hosts throughout the second period and they nearly snatched it at the death when Vitali Rodionov charged clean through. However, the BATE captain slid his shot wide with only Shehi to beat, leaving the tie finely poised.