Belarus v New Zealand Result
26 Jul 2012
2nd Day of the Olympic Football Tournament at the City of Coventry Stadium
Belarus v New Zealand Result
New Zealand 0
The Olympic Games make dreams come true and that was certainly the case in Coventry tonight for Belarus.
Playing in their first major tournament since gaining independence, Dmitry Baga wrote his name into his country’s history books by scoring the only goal in this Group C clash against New Zealand.
The carnival atmosphere followed on from last night ahead of kick-off with New Zealand fans having their photos taken by obliging policemen outside the ground and a number of children heading through the turnstiles wearing the smart new Team GB kit as the crowd continued to embrace London 2012 in the Midlands.
With New Zealand having travelled the furthest to participate in the Olympic Football Tournament, at least striker Chris Wood didn’t have as far to travel from his club at West Bromwich Albion and the All Whites received plenty of support from spectators inside the City of Coventry Stadium.
Full-back Ian Hogg tried his luck with an ambitious shot from the left wing which left keeper Alexsandr Gutor backpeddling as the ball landed on the roof of the net and then Michael McGlinchey’s free-kick was met by a smart header from Wood which was saved on the goalline by the Belarus No 1.
Belarus seemed to be adopting a shoot-on-sight policy, Renan Bardini Bressan whipped in a corner from the left which was tipped over the bar by New Zealand keeper Michael O’Keeffe and Sergei Kornilenko was not afraid to have a go with a couple of efforts from just outside the box.
There was a flurry of action in the 37th minute when the quick feet of the diminutive Marco Rojas saw him trick his way past a couple of players before his 25-yard shot was tipped over the bar and in the next attack, Kornilenko fired a shot into the side netting at the other end.
New Zealand coach Neil Emblen – who will be remembered by Midlands football fans during his playing days at Wolves and Walsall – was stunned when Belarus took the lead just before half-time.
Another dangerous corner from the left by Brazilian-born Bardini Bressan found its way to the far post where Baga had the honour of scoring the first goal for Belarus in a major tournament.
There were fewer chances in the opening exchanges of the second half as New Zealand attempted to find an equaliser.
Wood headed over the bar from eight yards and the big striker was then set free by a defence-splitting pass from Kosta Barbarouses but he fired the 20-yard shot over the bar with only the keeper to beat.
In fact, it was Belarus who might have extended their lead when Kornilenko swiftly turned to rifle in a shot which forced O’Keeffe to dive to his left to turn the ball round a post.
And again with only three minutes remaining, substitute Andrei Voronkov unleashed a firm strike which needed to be pushed away by the keeper and O’Keeffe flew through the air to deny the same player with a close-range header from the resulting corner.
The dangerous Kornilenko then showed lovely movement on the left of the box before sending an angled shot against the bar and a shot from Ilya Aleksievich was hacked away from near his own line by Blackburn defender Tim Payne before Belarus celebrated their first win in the Olympic Games.