BATE battles for 1-1 draw vs. Viktoria

Renan Bressan scored a second-half equalizer to give BATE Borisov a 1-1 draw with Viktoria Plzen in their Champions League opener on Tuesday.

Striker Marek Bakos gave Plzen a 1-0 lead in first-half stoppage time, converting the first chance for the tournament newcomer.

With the visitors pressing for an equalizer in the second half, Bressan collected a through pass by Filipp Rudik in the 69th minute and steered the ball between the legs of Plzen goalkeeper Marek Cech.

The draw gave both teams a point in Group H. Barcelona and AC Milan also shared the points in the other group game.

”I’m a little bit disappointed,” Plzen coach Pavel Vrba said after the Champions League debut. ”We were leading and BATE scored only due to our only mistake.”

Plzen applied early pressure, with David Bystron heading over the crossbar four minutes into the match from a cross by Pavel Horvath.

BATE was solid in defense and threatening on the counterattack through Mateja Kezman. The Serbian striker, who previously played for Chelsea, Atletico Madrid and PSV Eindhoven, just missed the target with a right-foot shot from the edge of the area in the 22nd and again just shot wide eight minutes later.

A long-range drive by Aleksandr Volodko forced Plzen goalkeeper Marek Cech into a diving save in another chance.

But Plzen took the lead just before the break when Bakos tapped in a precise cross by Petr Jiracek from the right to make it seven goals in Champions League play this season following six in three qualifying games.

Kezman finally found the back of the net in the 59th but the goal was disallowed for offside. At the other end, BATE goalkeeper Aleksandr Gutor denied Vaclav Pilar with a sharp save in the 63rd.

After Bressan’s equalizer, Plzen substitute Jakub Hora had a shot blocked and fired over the bar in the final minute.

The match was played at the Slavia Prague stadium because the arena in Plzen is under reconstruction.

BATE hosts Barcelona next on Sept 28 while Plzen travels to Milan.