- Soccer continues in Belarus and this week it’s cup semifinal time
- Slavia Mozyr host BATE Borisov in game 1, while Shakhtyor Soligorsk head to Dinamo Brest for semifinal 2
- We preview both games, look at the form of both teams, and look at the odds and picks
While most of the sporting world is in virtual shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, soccer in Belarus continues, and this Wednesday, April 8, it’s semifinal time in the Belarus Cup. In the first legs, Slavia Mozyr host BATE Borisov, while Shakhtyor Soligorsk head to Dinamo Brest.
We preview both games, look at the best odds and offer our picks.
Semifinal 1: Slavia Mozyr vs BATE Borisov Odds
|Slavia Mozyr||+0.5 (-126)||+253||O 2.5 (-111)|
|BATE Borisov||-0.5 (+106)||+103||U 2.5 (-109)|
All odds taken April 6.
Slavia’s Win in the League Offers Ray of Hope
The Yunost Stadium plays host to Slavia vs BATE in the Belarus Cup semifinal first leg, with the home team hoping to follow up their recent win over BATE in the league.
After opening their 2020 Premier League campaign with a 3-1 defeat at Slutsk, Mikhail Martinovich’s team responded in the best way possible by beating BATE 2-1 at home. Nikita Melnikov scored both goals that day and, as a result, Slavia comes into this one confident of taking a lead into the second leg.
Slavia made it two wins in two at the weekend with a 2-1 away win at Dinamo Brest – Andrey Chukhley and Aleksandr Kotlyarov scoring the goals – and so are in good form. They made it to the semi via a walkover when Dnyapro disbanded after being relegated from Premier League last season.
BATE Start Season Poorly
To reach the semis, BATE beat Dinamo Minsk 5-3 on aggregate but started the new Premier League season with two straight defeats – a 3-1 loss at Energetyk and then the 2-1 home defeat against Slavia. They did bounce back however with a narrow but vital 1-0 home win over Ruh Brest at the weekend, Stanislav Dragun with the only goal.
The value here looks to be with Slavia who have won their last three home league matches, while BATE have lost their last two away from home. And with Slavia winning this same fixture a couple of weeks ago, my money’s on the home team taking a lead into the second leg.
Pick: Slavia to win (+253)
Semifinal 2: Dinamo Brest vs Shakhtyor Soligorsk Odds
|Dinamo Brest||PK -0.5 (-102)||+131||O 2.0 (-117)|
|Shakhtyor Soligorsk||PK +0.5 (-118)||+231||U 2.0 (-103)|
League Winners vs Cup Winners in Brest
Dinamo entertains Shakhtyor at the OSK Brestsky Stadium in the first leg of semifinal 2, in what is a repeat of March’s Belarusian Super Cup. In that game, Belarus’s season opener, Dinamo won 2-0; a result that will give a slight psychological advantage heading into this one.
Last season was an outstanding one for Dinamo, who won their first-ever Belarusian Premier League title, losing only once in 30 games in the process. But already this season they have won one, lost one and drew one, so this looks likely to be a very different type of campaign for them.
In terms of the Cup, Dinamo was made to work hard for their place in the semis and after two goalless draws with Isloch in the quarterfinals, they eventually went through via a penalty shootout.
Their 2020 league campaign opened with a 1-1 home draw against Smolevichy, but they then went away to Slutsk and found their form of last season in recording a fine 1-0 win – Artem Milevskiy scoring for the goal.
That win made it 22 competitive matches without defeat but that run ended at the weekend when they were beaten 2-1 at home by Slavia Mozyr.
Comfortable Quarterfinal for Shakhtyor
Shakhtyor, current holders of the cup have, so far, an identical league record to Dinamo – so few clues there – but to counter the defeat by Dinamo in the Super Cup they will look to the ease with which they qualified for the semifinal; a comfortable 3-0 win over two legs against Torpedo BelAZ compared to Dinamo’s narrow penalty win.
It was also Torpedo that Shakhtyor faced in their first Premier League match of the season – a game that ended in a narrow 1-0 defeat – but Yurii Vernydub’s team bounced back well in week 2 when they won 2-0 away at Gorodeya, with Giorgi Diasamidze and Dmitri Podstrelov the scorers.
At the weekend, they drew 0-0 at home with Neman Grodno.
Home advantage could be key here for Dinamo who, let’s not forget, are still undefeated in 22 of their last 23 competitive games and have won nine of their last 14 home matches, but also worth noting is that they have drawn six of their last eight matches against Shakhtyor
For their part, Shakhtyor are undefeated in nine of their last 11 away games and so, for me, the value here is very much with the draw at +198.
Pick: Dinamo and Shakhtyor to draw (+198)
Let's have fun and keep it civil.