BARYSAW, Belarus (AFP) – Athletic Bilbao’s nightmare start to the season continued as their chances of progressing to the last 16 of the Champions League were severely dented by a 2-1 loss to BATE Borisov on Tuesday.
The Belarussian champions had been beaten 6-0 by Porto in their opening game, but bounced back in style as first-half goals from Denis Polyakov and Aleksandr Karnitski handed them the three points.
Aritz Aduriz’s strike just before half-time had given Athletic some hope, however, they now languish at the bottom of Group H as their winless streak in all competitions extends to six games.
Porto’s late equaliser in a 2-2 draw away to Shakhtar Donetsk in the night’s other game in the group means BATE move into second place, a point ahead of the Ukrainians.
The hosts made the breakthrough on 18 minutes when a corner to the near post was flicked and the unmarked Polyakov had the easiest of tasks to slam the ball home from close range.
BATE were desperately unlucky not to double their advantage on the half hour mark as Nikolai Signevich’s sweetly struck volley came back off the inside of the post and rebounded to safety.