Smolevichi host in-form BATE Borisov at Ozyorny Stadium in the Belarusian Premier League on Sunday.
Smolevichi’s return to the Belarusian Premier League has been a baptism of fire and brimstone. They had a promising start with a credible draw against defending champions Dinamo Brest on the opening day of the season which raised the hopes and expectations of their fans that they could at the very least ruffle a few feathers in the top division. Back-to-back losses, a couple of draws and another double loss in their last two games have left them gasping for breath, just a point off the bottom of the table, and brutally brought their fans back to the reality of the rigours of top-flight football. Smolevichi have now failed to win in their last 15 Belarusian Premier League matches and failed to score from open play in their last six matches.
Ozyorny Stadium has not been a fortress by any metrics. If anything, their home form has left a lot to be desired. Smolevichi have lost nine of their last 12 home matches in the league and failed to score in six of their last eight. This season, they have lost three of the four home games they have played and they could not have gotten a more formidable team to host at this time than an in-form BATE – a team that has been making mincemeat of opponents they have played in the last few games. Whilst Smolevichi have lost their last two games, BATE have won their last three and are looking likely to make it four on the trot on this trip.
Aleksandr Brazevich’s side lost 2-0 at home against Energetik-BGU last time out. After they conceded an early first-half goal, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich went close just after half time in a back and forth game before right back Konstantin Kotov got his marching orders for a second bookable offence late in the game. As fate would have it, they conceded an injury-time penalty to all but drive the final nail in their coffin. Right-back could be an issue for the coach to sort with Ivan Vasilenok injured and Konstantin Kotov suspended following. They have struggled upfront too and the coach may at some point have to shuffle his forwards to try and get something going.
BATE had a rocky start to the season with unexpected losses to Energetik-BGU Minsk and Slavia Mozyr, but that now seems like a long time ago as they have completely turned the season on its head with performances that has seen them bounce back near the top of the table after going five undefeated in the league, including an emphatic 3-1 away win against Neman Grodno in their last outing last weekend. They lie third on the log, just three points behind early-season league leaders Slutsk.
BATE’s quick turnaround is not a surprise to many observers. They have dominated the Belarus Premier League for years on end. They narrowly lost the title last year and were therefore expected by fans and pundits alike to make a comeback this season. The start was far from ideal but the subsequent results are more in tune with the expectations. They are obviously heavy favourites coming into this fixture against relegation-threatened Smolevichi. They have won both of their only two previous meetings. Their confidence is sky-high coming into the fixture after a string of impressive and dominant displays, dispatching Neman and Gorodeya in the league and Slavia Mozyr in the cup. BATE have scored 10 goals in their last five games and have only conceded once in that run.
Coach Kirill Alshevskiy can breathe a sigh of relief now that his charges are back on track and playing the attacking brand of football they are known for. Captain Igor Stasevich has been outstanding alongside midfielder Stanislav Dragun who leads them with 3 goals so far. They are expected to continue their partnership from the middle of the pack. Right-back Aleksandar Filipovic returned from injury against Neman Grodno and Jakov Filipovic played the full 90 minutes in his first appearance for the club so the coach basically has a fully fit squad to choose from for this fixture. Given how well they have been playing, coach Alshevskiy is unlikely to make major changes to the winning lineups.
BATE are back to playing their traditional brand of football that has seen them win the league a record fifteen times. They go on the attack from the kickoff and dominate teams with excellent ball movement, possession and incisive attacks. They are high on confidence at the moment and we expect them to win this game with ease. With their renewed determination to make amends for last season and their superior style of play and personnel available for selection, we are backing them to dominate this game and win both halves. Our first betting tip for the game is Half-Time Full Time BATE – BATE @ 1.77 on Cloudbet betting app.
Smolevichy are struggling at the moment to get any kind of momentum going. They have lost three of their last 4 home games, have scored just two in their last five games and three for the season. BATE have cleaned up the defensive errors that led to them dropping their first two games of the season. They have looked dominant over the last few games, winning three in a row. That could easily have been four had they converted the penalty they were awarded the numerous chances they wasted in their 0-0 draw against Torpedo Belaz. At full strength, they will be hard to contain. BATE Borisov have won by 2 or more in their last three matches in all competitions we find -1.5 Asian handicap @1.85 an excellent value and we are backing it for our final betting tip for this encounter.
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