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BATE put paid to Linfeld ambitions

FC BATE Borisov 2-0 Linfield FC (agg: 3-1)
Group stage contenders in 2008/09, BATE edged closer to rejoining Europe's elite thanks to Pavel Nekhaychik and Aleksandr Pavlov.

Scorer Pavel Nekhaychik has an effort on goal against Linfield
Scorer Pavel Nekhaychik has an effort on goal against Linfield ©Pressball

FC BATE Borisov progressed to the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round thanks to two goals in three second-half minutes from Pavel Nekhaychik and Aleksandr Pavlov.

With the score goalless at the break, Nekhaychik headed a largely dominant BATE team into a 58th-minute lead. Pavlov's impressive strike moments later made sure BATE, group stage participants three years ago, will face FK Ekranas in the next round on 26/27 July and 2/3 August.

Perhaps mindful of last week's 1-1 draw, in which Linfield had taken the lead, BATE were reluctant to force the issue before the break, knowing the damage an away goal could do. Their most notable first-half efforts came from Oleg Patotski, who fired into the side netting, and Dmitri Likhtarovich, but they were rewarded for a more purposeful start to the second period when Nekhaychik headed in Artyom Kontsevoi's cross.

Pavlov then doubled the Belarusian champions' lead, and in some style. Running from midfield, he surged through the heart of the Linfield defence and fired below Alan Blayney's crossbar. Linfield went close to reducing their arrears in the 87th minute when an Aaron Burns header was cleared off the line and BATE goalkeeper Aleksandr Gutor thwarted Philip Lowry.