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Sosnovski puts BATE in command

FC Sheriff 0-1 FC BATE Borisov
The home side twice hit the woodwork late on but Sergei Sosnovski's early header proved the difference for the Group E leaders.

BATE celebrate Sergei Sosnovski's goal
BATE celebrate Sergei Sosnovski's goal ©Boris Kharchenko

Sergei Sosnovski's early goal earned FC BATE Borisov a second successive UEFA Europa League win, against FC Sheriff, to move three points clear at the top of Group E.

The central defender headed in on eight minutes and that goal was made to count against a Sheriff side who twice hit the woodwork late on but were denied a point an enterprising performance deserved. Victory takes BATE top on seven points, with FC Dynamo Kyiv second on four and Sheriff and AZ Alkmaar on three apiece.

Both sides came into the game looking to build on impressive victories last time out and Sheriff, who had beaten Dynamo, flew out of the blocks. André Diedhiou burst clear in the third minute but blazed over with only the goalkeeper to beat. Having survived that scare BATE hit their stride and went ahead when Sosnovski powerfully headed in Renan Bressan's corner.

Sheriff kept their composure and Aleksandr Erokhin almost produced an equaliser on 31 minutes when his deflected shot forced Sergei Veremko into a sharp save under the crossbar. BATE should have added a second a minute later when Vitali Rodionov sent Pavel Nekhaychik clear only for Vladislav Stoyanov to save with an outstretched leg.

Chances were few at the start of the second half, but the momentum began to shift Sheriff's way. One effort was ruled out for a foul on Veremko, who then saved Ognjen Vranješ's angled shot. 

Sheriff pressed, and on 76 minutes substitute Vladimir Volkov headed against the bar, then Erokhin dragged a shot across goal. When Vladimir Branković's lofted free-kick from near the touchline eluded everyone and bounced back off the post, it was clear it was going to be BATE's night.