FC BATE Borisov 3-1 FC Sheriff
A second-half surge in Minsk sent the Belarusian champions through to the last 32 for a first taste of springtime UEFA competition.
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A late surge helped FC BATE Borisov reach the last 32 of the UEFA Europa League with a 3-1 Group E victory against FC Sheriff.
With FC Dynamo Kyiv beating AZ Alkmaar 2-0 in the evening's other game in the section, second-half goals from Aleksandr Pavlov and Renan Bressan helped Viktor Goncharenko's side to book a place in the spring phase of a UEFA club competition for the first time in their history, and ensured a disappointing start to Sheriff substitute goalkeeper Dmitri Stajila's European career.
First-choice Sheriff keeper Vladislav Stoyanov pushed Bressan's angled shot over the bar early on, and while the visitors gave almost as good as they got, they went behind on 16 minutes. Vitali Rodionov hared through on the break, showed strength to hold off a retreating defender and rounded Stoyanov to finish at the near post, despite last-ditch challenges on the line.
The striker's third goal in four Group E games did not dispirit Sheriff too badly. Aleksandr Erokhin drew a splendid one-handed save from Sergei Veremko, then left the BATE goalkeeper clutching at thin air as he got a head to Ognen Vranješ' wicked ball from the right and looped it in.
Stoyanov's withdrawal through injury in the 58th minute handed 19-year-old Stajila an unexpected European debut. And while Veremko did just enough a the other end to put Benjamin Balima off his stride as he found himself in on goal, BATE upped their game thereafter.
Stajila was equal to Aleksandr Yurevich's long shot but soon after Aleksandr Pavlov drove the ball through his clutches as José Nadson's clearance fell at his feet. Five minutes later, Bressan delivered the coup de grace, sending a free-kick into the left-hand corner of Stajila's net from 20 metres.