FC Viktoria Plzeň 1-1 FC BATE Borisov
Renan Bressan's second-half equaliser denied the Czech club an opening victory in their first UEFA Champions League group stage match.
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FC BATE Borisov bounced back from the blow of conceding a goal on the stroke of half-time to deny FK Viktoria Plzeň a victory in the Czech champions' maiden group stage encounter.
BATE coach Viktor Goncharenko had highlighted the importance of taking something away from Prague, where Plzeň have set up temporary home in Group H. Renan Bressan's 69th-minute equaliser ensured Goncharenko was not disappointed after the prolific Marek Bakoš had added to his six goals during qualifying in the final seconds of the first half.
The visiting players looked as if they may still have their minds on Prague's picture-postcard spires as they failed to find any rhythm early on. Václav Pilař's pacy raids down the left promised much for Plzeň, and after one burst brought the hosts a corner, David Bystroň rose highest but headed over the crossbar.
With Vitali Rodionov injured, Mateja Kežman was employed as BATE's sole striker, and though service was infrequent, the Serbian set Plzeň pulses racing when he darted on to a Marko Simić through ball only to hit the side netting. Plzeň coach Pavel Vrba's concerns would have swelled still further when Mikhail Gordeychuk fired a shot that deflected off Marian Čišovský and arced narrowly wide of the far post.
As the Belarusian titleholders looked to be easing their way into the match, Plzeň wrested back the initiative with the last kick of the half. Pilař flicked the ball into the equally impressive Petr Jiráček, whose fluid turn and instant cross found Bakoš lunging from close range to turn the ball in.
With BATE still stunned, Plzeň sought to press home their advantage. David Limberský's shot was blocked after Pavel Horváth's cleverly engineered set piece found the midfielder in space in the box, and the impish Pilař tested Aleksandr Gutor in the BATE goal having turned delightfully away from his marker.
BATE eventually regained their poise, and manufactured an equaliser when Filipp Rudik spied Bressan's run behind the Plzeň back four and the Brazilian slipped the ball through Marek Čech's legs. Jakub Hora could have won it for the hosts in the final minute, but the substitute slashed wide from the edge of the box. BATE welcome holders FC Barcelona in two weeks' time, when Plzeň travel to AC Milan, the group favourites having drawn 2-2 at Camp Nou.