BATE advance after holding off Partizan rally

Partizan 2-1 BATE Borisov (agg: 2-2, BATE win on away goals) Igor Stasevich's away goal put the visitors in control of a tie that eventually went to the wire thanks to a late rally from the determined hosts.

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  • Igor Stasevich scores 25 minutes in to give BATE lead
  • Maksim Zhavnerchik turns into own net to restore Partizan hope
  • Ivan Šaponjić volley in added time sets up frantic final seconds
  • BATE hold on to maintain perfect play-off record
  • Group stage draw in Monaco on Thursday at 17.45CET

BATE Borisov did just enough in Serbia to survive a late scare as they secured their place in Thursday's UEFA Champions League group stage draw despite a narrow play-off second-leg defeat at Partizan. 

After losing last Thursday the onus was on Zoran Milinković 's hosts to attack but it was the visitors who showed the way when Igor Stasevich fired low into the net midway through the first half. Maksim Zhavnerchik's own goal and Ivan Šaponjić's late volley made things close, yet the Belarusian champions hung on to make it four play-off qualifications from four attempts.

BATE started the brighter and Mikhail Gordeichuk drilled low and wide in the opening exchanges before home keeper Živko Živković rushed off his line to dive at the feet of Vitali Rodionov who had been slipped clear. The heavy collision with the No1 forced the BATE captain off after 16 minutes, but his replacement – Nikolai Signevich – picked up where his skipper left off and headed centimetres over shortly after entering.

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The breakthrough came in the 25th minute when Gordeichuk had a shot saved, only for the ball to drop into the path of Stasevich who made no mistake from ten metres despite the encircling defenders closing rapidly. Abubakar Oumaru whistled a drive from distance wide as he sought to reduce the deficit before Stefan Babović's shot inside the area deflected a fraction off target.

The Serbian title holders were lucky not to have more ground to make up moments after the restart when a mad scramble in the home area saw Gordeichuk denied by Živković and then blaze over, either side of Signevich rattling the post. Partizan were given hope on 74 minutes when Nemanja Petrović's cross from the left struck Zhavnerchik and sneaked past a wrong-footed Sergei Chernik, but that – along with Šaponjić's 92nd-minute athletic volley – proved too late to prevent BATE ensuring a repeat of last season's group stage entry.

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Reaction
Aleksandr Ermakovich, BATE coach
We came here to win and to get a result. This is what we have done and we are satisfied.

Zoran Milinković, Partizan coach
We missed our goal of making the Champions League. When we look at the two games, we could have been there. I think small details decided it. At first we succumbed to the pressure tonight, then the equaliser came too late. In the second half we overpowered BATE. I'm proud of the players and the fans. But that is life and this is a victory we can't celebrate. We will do everything to play a prominent role in the Europa League, with a desire to represent Serbian football well.

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