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Belarus make merry in Minsk

Saturday, 9 October 2004

By Denis Orlov

[1] Sergey Omelyanchuk, Vitaly Kutuzov, Vitaly Bulyha and Maksim Romashchenko were the men on target for Belarus as they continued their unbeaten start in FIFA World Cup qualifying Group 5.

Moldova duo banned

[2] Belarus began their campaign last month with a 1-1 draw in Norway, while Moldova fell to defeats against Slovenia and Italy in their opening fixtures. On top of that disappointment, Serguei Dadu and Yuri Priganiuc were suspended for this game and Vladimir Lungu injured, while Aliaksandr Hleb was banned for Belarus due to a red card at last May's UEFA European Under-21 Championship.

Early efforts

[3] Home coach Anatoly Baidaychnyy had said an early goal would be a huge boost for his side, and his players took him at his word as they pressed from the off, Romashchenko shooting wide after just 25 seconds. Within a minute, Belarus won a dangerous free-kick but Romashchenko's clever shot was parried by Moldova goalkeeper Eugen Hmaruc.

Visitors go close

[4] Moldova then settled down and on four minutes Yury Miterev headed on goal, but Vasily Khomutovski caught the ball. Ghenadie Olexic shot wide twice for the visitors, but as the half wore on Belarus wrested back control and just before the break Omelyanchuk's effort from 28 metres out surprised Khmaruk and found the net.

Belarus ahead

[5] The visitors pushed for an equaliser after the break but Belarus held firm, Khomutovski saving from Stanislav Ivanov in the 63rd minute. Baidaychnyy then decided to send on Bulyha for Kutuzov but, before he could make the change, the player due for substitution received a pass from Valentin Belkevich and shot in from six metres out.

Valedictory strike

[6] Two goals to the good, Belarus were now able to play with more freedom, and, with a quarter of an hour left, Bylyha - who eventually arrived for Kutuzov following his strike - scored a goal of his own after being set up by Romashchenko. In added time, Romashchenko made it 4-0 as he produced a deadly finish from Vladimir Korytko's cross.

Crucial trip

[7] That victory will be just the fillip Belarus need as they travel to Italy on Wednesday, while Moldova welcome another side yet to score in the group, Scotland.

Belarus's Vitaly Kutuzov (Left) takes on Ghenadie Olexic