BATE stun Lille with first-half salvo
A remarkable three-goal salvo in the first half gave BATE Borisov a first-ever Champions League win on Wednesday, 3-1 at Lille, to leave the French club facing a huge task to rescue their campaign already.
Aleksandr Volodko, Vitali Rodionov and Edgar Olekhnovich all found the net for the Belarussian visitors, who had failed to win in 12 previous attempts in the group stage of the competition.
And while Aurelien Chedjou reduced the deficit for the home side in the second half, their subsequent pressure failed to produce another goal and their first group-stage game in their impressive new stadium turned out to be something of a damp squib.
In a Group F also containing Bayern Munich and Valencia, Rudi Garcia's side needed to get their campaign off to a positive start but, having won just once in their opening five domestic games, confidence was not at its highest.
And instead BATE, who have won the Belarussian title in each of the last six seasons, stunned the Grand Stade by taking a sixth-minute lead when Volodko collected possession 25 yards from goal in a central position, turned and sent a vicious shot arrowing over Mickael Landreau and into the top right-hand corner of the net.
This Lille side, featuring Salomon Kalou, a Champions League winner with Chelsea last season, is not short of experience at the highest level, but they were caught out repeatedly on the break after that and fell further behind after just 20 minutes.
Rodionov had already scored four times as BATE came through three qualifying ties to make it to this stage, but he was fortunate to have this goal count as he was offside when the final ball was played.
Luck may not have been on Lille's side, but they were also the architects of their own downfall, particularly when conceding a third goal just before the interval.
The home defence was pulled apart again, and Olekhnovich was allowed two attempts before beating Landreau.
By this point, BATE were in dreamland, while the home supporters greeted the half-time whistle with a deafening chorus of boos.
Garcia threw on Nolan Roux and Ryan Mendes, debutants in the competition, in a bid to spark his side into life in the second half, but it was always going to be an uphill struggle.
No side had come back from 3-0 down to take something from a Champions League game since Liverpool in the 2005 final and went on to win on penalties.
Chedjou did pull one back on the hour when his header from a left-wing corner hit the underside of the bar and landed just the right side of the line.
But Mendes, Dimitri Payet and Florent Balmont all missed further chances, and Lille could have conceded again, Hleb striking the side-netting at the end of another breakaway.
With a trip to Valencia to come next before a double-header against Bayern, Lille's chances of further progression already look very slim.
And BATE should face a stiffer test when they entertain the German giants in their next game.
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