Belarusian club BATE Borisov recorded their first Champions League group stage victory with a 3-1 win against Lille in France.
The visitors raced into a shock early two-goal lead at Grand Stade Lille Métropole: Aleksandr Volodko put his side ahead after six minutes with a strike of some quality before Vitali Rodionov finished off a quick breakaway with 20 minutes on the clock.
Edgar Olekhnovich then scored a third with only two minutes of the half remaining following another quick break.
A second-half improvement saw Aurélien Chedjou reduce the deficit with an hour on the clock but BATE held out for a famous - and deserved - win.
Pitted against last year’s runners-up Bayern Munich and Spain’s third best side Valencia, and having finished bottom in their respective groups last time out, a win in this fixture was paramount for both sides if they were to harbour any hopes of knock-out qualification.
Lille, whose best Champions League performance to date was a last 16 appearance during the 2006-07 season, lost talisman Eden Hazard over the summer but they bought well and two of the new signings, Marvin Martin and Salomon Kalou started whilst the visitors started with their own marquee summer signing, Aleksandr Hleb.
And it was Kalou who was to have the first chance of the game with five minutes on the clock. With time and space at the back post, he elected to take down the cross rather than shoot first time allowing Andrey Harbunow time to rearrange his feet and tip over.
BATE had been ragged at the back up until that point and it was wholly against the run of play when they took the lead.
Volodko was afforded time and space with his back to goal which he utilised to measure a vicious dipping effort that flew over the desperate dive of Mickaël Landreau to give the visitors a surprise early advantage.
If the first goal was slightly against the run of play, BATE appeared to have the measure of their hosts when they doubled their advantage. They broke at pace and even if Rodionov was marginally offside when he rolled the ball home, the break was beautifully crafted by former Arsenal man Hleb.
Having made a laboured start, the hosts were jolted into some form of action having conceded a second but while their intensity improved their quality of play did not and they were reduced to speculative shots from distance.
When they did work an opening, hesitation often set in and a BATE defender was on hand to clear. Dimitri Payet was particularly culpable, dithering on the odd occasion his team-mates had worked him a bit of space but the hosts were getting more of a foothold in the game.
Getting to the break with their two goal advantage unscathed was now a priority for coach Viktor Goncharenko, but they broke again to take a three-goal advantage to the interval.
Olekhnovich broke the offside trap but saw his effort saved by Landreau but the rebound fell to the midfielder and he made no mistake a second time round with 43 minutes gone.
The hosts began the second period with more intensity, intent and possession and Mathieu Debuchy provided a couple of moments of threat during the opening exchanges of the half.
First Kalou headed a Debuchy cross wide when well placed before the right-back had a dipping effort whistle past the post from just outside the box.
But BATE were still a threat on the break and Hleb was unlucky not to have won a penalty when Chedjou appeared to haul him down but referee Marcin Borski turned away the appeals.
Lille were lucky to escape that penalty claim but were certainly in the ascendancy and it was of little surprise when Chedjou evaded his man at a corner to head in off the crossbar with an hour gone.
The goal changed the dynamics of the game and the visitors dropped deeper and deeper and, in doing so, invited pressure, which the hosts supplied aplenty. Full-backs Lucas Digne and Debuchy were operating as auxiliary wingers but a combination of stout defending and luck kept the hosts at bay.
With four times as many shots as their visitors, the statistics would suggest that the hosts had dominated but that was not the case and they were to pay a heavy price for a subdued first-half performance.
MAN OF THE MATCH:
Aleksandr Volodko, BATE – just edges Hleb. It was his great strike that set the visitors on the way to a first Champions League group stage win and he was industrious and clever throughout.
Lille: Landreau 5, Debuchy 7, Baša 6, Chedjou 6, Digne 7; Balmont 5, Mavuba 5, Payet 6, Martin 5, Kalou 5, De Melo 5: Subs: Mendes 6, Sidibé 5, Roux 5.
BATE Borisov: Harbunow 7; Volodko 8, Radkov 7, Simić 6, Polyakov 6; Likhtarovich 6, Olekhnovich 6, Bordachev 6, Hleb 8, Pavlov 6, Rodionov 6. Subs: Mozolevski 5, Bressan 5, Sivakov 5.
MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND STATS
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