Belarus Premier League, Friday, 17:00 – Live Streaming on PaddyPower.com
What do I know about Belarus? Prior to last week I knew it was in Eastern Europe, the Capital was Minsk and the only footballer I could think of to come from there was Alexander Hleb – League Cup runner-up at Arsenal before winning it with Birmingham, and, oh yeah, a treble with Barcelona sandwiched in between.
What I now know is that, due to the unfortunate circumstances currently ongoing across Europe and the World, Belarus is the only European league still playing football. I am not sure how long this will last but, while it does, I will try to give you some background on the matches so that it might be a bit more interesting. We are all desperate for football, after all. Any football.
The visitors for this game, Energetik had the biggest surprise win of the opening weekend beating the country’s most successful club BATE Borisov 3-1. BATE had finished 37 points ahead of Energetik last season so it’s a big turnaround.
Two of the goals were scored by Jasur Yakhshiboev, a 22-year-old midfielder, already capped by Uzbekistan and on loan from FK AGMK. The aforementioned Hleb said last week that when the National Hockey League closed in North America, a lot of the top ice hockey players went to Russia’s KHL to play and maybe the likes of Messi and Ronaldo could come to Belarus.
I am sure the idea is tongue-in-cheek, but, considering how deftly Yakshiboev took his goals last week, neither superstar is needed.
'Maybe Messi or Ronaldo will come to Belarus' ?
— Goal News (@GoalNews) March 24, 2020
Energetik’s hero stayed on his feet when he could have gone down for a penalty, therefore, and unlike Ronaldo, he will always be viewed as an honest player in my book. The coolness of both finishes, rounding the keeper for the first goal, was very Messi like and hence why he has been dubbed the new Messi.
The home side are an interesting club, as they were only founded in 2016. They had a partnership as a farm club for Dinamo Brest, last season’s league champions, for a while but are now an independent club in their debut season in the Belarussian Premier League. They also opened with a league debut 1-0 win away to Dinamo Minsk last week. They also have some really weird squad numbers…. More akin to what you see in a bingo hall than a starting XI. 31, 34, 50 ,59 and 77 all making an appearance last week.
I was waiting on legs 11 to get off the bench for a full house.
My best tips for this would be:
1 – Continue to follow the local guidelines of your relevant health authorities. We all have our part to play.
2 – If you want an interesting bet, then Yakhsiboev is 8/1 for first goal
3 – Energetik-BGU had a league-high over 2.5 goals clicking in 22 of their 30 league games last season, and defensively the worse record in the league (66 goals conceded in 30 games). Overs could be the way to go.
*All odds correct at time of publication