BATE Borisov lifted the Belarus Cup after snatching a last-gasp 1-0 win over Dynamo Brest in front of 5,000 fans on Sunday as the nation continued to defy the global trend of halting action or playing without spectators due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Zakhar Volkov scored the only goal in the dying seconds of extra-time, netting with a scrappy finish after a chaotic goal-mouth scramble.
There was no attempt to maintain social distancing as Volkov was mobbed by his ecstatic team mates, while the players also embraced each other as they lifted the trophy in Minsk, which keeps the side on course to win a domestic double.
BATE are top of the Belarusian Premier League, which was the only domestic competition in Europe to continue without disruption despite the pandemic that caused the suspension of all the major leagues.
President Alexander Lukashenko has been bullish about the country’s response to the pandemic, saying “it’s better to die standing than to live on your knees” in March as the virus began to ravage the world and cripple the global economy.
Germany’s Bundesliga became the first major league in Europe to resume earlier this month, although all matches are being played without spectators. Players are also refraining from celebrating together due to social distancing rules being in place.
The Portuguese top flight will resume without spectators on June 3 while Spain’s La Liga is free to start up again from June 8 after getting the green light from the government although fixtures are yet to be announced.
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Written by Sandeep Sen
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