Belarus ensured they would stay in touch with the UEFA EURO 2008™ Group G leaders tonight as they held on for a win in Luxembourg.
Belarus hold on
Goals from Timofei Kalachev and Vitali Kutuzov had put Belarus in control but substitute Chris Sagrahola pulled one back for Luxembourg and the home side had chances to secure a first point in the group near the end. Belarus remain fourth, three points ahead of Slovenia.
After Luxembourg defender Jeff Strasser had had to make a couple of early interceptions, the persistence of the visitors soon paid off. Kutuzov forged an opening for Kalachev who found the top left corner with his left foot. The scorer then set up Aleksandr Kulchiy whose shot rattled the post. Luxembourg finally threatened for the first time when Dan Collette's long-range effort demanded a save from Yuri Zhevnov, who then had to field a Strasser header.
Early in the second half, Kutuzov's strike warmed the palms of Jonathan Joubert. However, he was not to be denied after 53 minutes when his shot from distance flew into the net. Kalachev tried to follow suit with a wayward attempt from outside the area, while Vyacheslav Hleb forced another save from Joubert as Belurus continued to press.
Luxembourg reduce arrears
At the other end, Sagrahola was denied by Zhevnov and the same player subsequently reduced the arrears for the hosts on 68 minutes, rustling the bottom left corner after good work from fellow substitute Jérôme Bigard. Vladimir Korythko might have restored Belarus's two-goal cushion, before with eight minutes remaining Strasser almost equalised with a header and René Peters also went close. Luxembourg will hope for better luck in Romania on Wednesday, while Belarus return to action with two fixtures against Bulgaria in early June.