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Ventspils hold on to oust BATE

BATE 2-1 Ventspils (agg: 2-2, Ventspils win on away goals)
Igor Tigirlas's first-half goal was the difference as the Latvian champions squeezed past last term's group-stage participants.

BATE double goalscorer Sergei Krivets takes on Ventspils' Grigori Chirkin in Borisov
BATE double goalscorer Sergei Krivets takes on Ventspils' Grigori Chirkin in Borisov ©Pressball

Latvian titleholders FK Ventspils edged past FC BATE Borisov on away goals despite going down 2-1 in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League third qualifying tie.

Hanging on
Leading 1-0 from the first leg, Ventspils took an early lead through Igor Tigirlas but were left hanging on when BATE hit back through two Sergei Krivets goals. However, the Belarussian champions' hopes of repeating last season's appearance in the group stage disappeared with substitute Maksim Skavysh's late miss and it is Ventspils whose name will go into the hat for Friday's UEFA Champions League play-off round draw.

Perfect start
The visitors postponed a league meeting with FK Tranzits Ventspils to ensure they were as fresh as possible for this match and Roman Grygorchuk's team made the perfect start when Tigirlas doubled their aggregate lead after 14 minutes. Deniss Kačanovs flicked on Jurijs Žigajevs' corner to the far post where Tigirlas turned the ball in.

Rode their luck
BATE responded by upping the tempo, launching a series of attacks that earned their reward when Krivets equalised two minutes before the break from a corner. Krivets then put Viktor Goncharenko's team in front on the night 12 minutes after restart, controlling a long ball from Maksim Bordachov and beating Andrejs Pavlovs with a precise shot. The home team could scent aggregate success now but were unable to get that decisive third goal as Ventspils, defending deep, rode their luck – not least when Skavysh shot wide from a promising position with 14 minutes remaining.