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Armenia strike early in Belarus

Belarus 0-1 Armenia
Vardan Bakalyan scored early on and the visitors held firm to claim only their second victory in Group 10.

Armenia goalkeeper Arsen Beglaryan claims a cross in Minsk
Armenia goalkeeper Arsen Beglaryan claims a cross in Minsk ©Pressball

Vardan Bakalyan's early strike proved enough to earn three points as Armenia won 1-0 in Belarus in UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying Group 10.

The FC Pyunik forward gathered a long ball from Gagik Poghosyan, evaded the Belarus defence and scored with a spectacular chip to get his side's noses in front after just eight minutes in Borisov. It was the cue for Abraham Khashmanyan's team to shut up shop effectively for the remainder of the game.

After going behind so quickly, Belarus struggled to make an impression on the Armenia defence, though Evgeni Klopotski fired over midway through the first half following a free-kick. Davit Hakobyan shot narrowly wide at the other end before the break, while the best chance of the second period fell to the hosts' Pavel Savitski but his header from Yuri Kovalev's cross ten minutes from time was saved.

"We were hoping for another kind of game, but we didn't play well in the first half," admitted Belarus coach Igor Kovalevich. "It was our own fault that we conceded a silly goal. We had the better of the second half, but in general things did not go our way."