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Birthday boy brings BATE joy

FC BATE Borisov 5-1 FH Hafnarfjördur
Pavel Nekhaychik started the party early as he marked his last day as a 21-year-old with a hat-trick as BATE opened up a commanding first-leg lead.

BATE's Artsiom Kantsavy tries his luck against FH
BATE's Artsiom Kantsavy tries his luck against FH ©Pressball

Pavel Nekhaychik started the celebrations early as he marked his last day as a 21-year-old with a hat-trick as FC BATE Borisov opened up a commanding 5-1 first-leg lead against FH Hafnarfjördur.

The midfielder is hardly renowned for his goalscoring prowess but did not look back after heading the home side in front three minutes after half-time. Renan Bressan doubled the advantage before the hour and this second qualifying round tie looked set for 2-0 until a late flurry of goals left FH with it all to do in Iceland next Wednesday.

The visitors had begun brightly, Atli Gudnason heading over an early corner, even if the home team always looked like they had enough in reserve with Vitali Rodionov irrepressible. It was BATE's No20 who finally unlocked the defence after the restart, providing crosses for Nekhaychik and then Bressan to convert – after that it was damage limitation for FH.

Nekhaychik made it 3-0 five minutes from time after a strong run from substitute Maksim Skavysh. He soon had his hat-trick as the floodgates opened, keeping his cool after beating the offside trap and firing past goalkeeper Gunnleifur Gunnleifsson. Atli Björnsson pulled one back but the last word fell to Rodionov as he made it 5-1 following good work from Aleksandr Volodko. It was Nekhaychik's night, however.