First-half strikes help BATE best Athletic

FC BATE Borisov 2-1 Athletic Club
Goals from Denis Polyakov and Aleksandr Karnitski gave the hosts victory in the first UEFA Champions League game at the Borisov Arena.

Denis Polyakov (19) and Aleksandr Karnitski (41) give BATE two-goal cushion
Aritz Aduriz (45) pulls one back in first UEFA Champions League game at new Borisov Arena
Belarusian side had lost all eight previous games against Spanish teams
Win leaves Athletic bottom of Group H; BATE up to third
Next matches: BATE v Shakhtar, Porto v Athletic (21 October)

FC BATE Borisov bounced back from a chastening first Group H game to overcome Athletic Club and revive their UEFA Champions League challenge at the Spanish side's expense.

Beaten 6-0 at FC Porto on matchday one, the home team were quickly into their stride in the first UEFA Champions League match at their new Borisov Arena, and before 20 minutes had elapsed they were in front through Denis Polyakov. Maksim Volodko's right-wing corner was flicked on at the near post and the BATE No33 was left unmarked to volley past the exposed Gorka Iraizoz.

The goalkeeper was helpless again moments later as BATE went close to doubling their lead. Aleksandr Karnitski twisted and turned inside the Athletic area before chipping the ball to the far post, where Nikolai Signevich volleyed back across goal. With Iraizoz a spectator, only the right-hand upright came to Athletic's rescue – but there was to be no such escape 11 minutes later.

This time Karnitski did the hard work himself, although he needed a sizeable deflection to get the better of Iraizoz. The BATE No7 turned sharply on the edge of the box and fired towards the bottom right corner. However, Andoni Iraola got in the way and sent the ball into the opposite corner, leaving his goalkeeper without a hope.

Athletic required a spark and, on the stroke of half-time, they found it. Iker Munaian pulled the ball down and his clever pass took three BATE defenders out of the game; Aritz Aduriz turned past Polyakov to slide a low shot across Sergei Chernik and into the far corner.

BATE continued to look the likelier scorers after the break and just past the hour passed up a golden chance to restore their two-goal cushion. Mikhail Gordeychuk set Signevich loose on the Athletic defence but, having forced his way through, the striker thrashed his shot over the bar.

That miss almost proved costly with eight minutes left, Markel Susaeta sending a fierce shot towards the BATE goal; Chernik was equal to it and pushed over. Athletic pushed forward in search of a late reprieve, but BATE held on.