UEFA Champions League: BATE lose to Lille to drop down to Europa league

Reuters and AP, CLUJ, Romania

Thu, Nov 22, 2012 - Page 18

BATE Borisov lost 2-0 at home to LOSC Lille Metropole, a defeat that means they will have to content themselves with a place in the Europa League.

Their Group F rivals Valencia — who later drew 1-1 with Bayern Munich as the Germans also went through — progressed because they were previously three points above BATE and had a better head-to-head record over the Belarussian team. They now lead BATE by four.

BATE, who have only one match left, at Bayern, are out of the elite competition, but will drop into the Europa League last 32 after securing third spot.

The victory secured Lille’s first points of the group stage and came courtesy of first-half goals from Djibril Sidibe and Gianni Bruno. Sidibe was sent off for a second booking midway through the second period in misty Minsk, Belarus.

Despite the win, the French side are out of Europe completely because BATE are three points above them and have a better head-to-head.

They may still have a role to play though, with Valencia heading to northeast France on Dec. 5 hoping to win and steal top spot off Bayern.

Meanwhile, Romania’s CFR Cluj remained in the hunt for a berth in the Champions League knockout stages after beating Portuguese side SC Braga 3-1 with a hat-trick from Rui Pedro on Tuesday.

Cluj and Turkish team Galatasaray, who beat Group H winner Manchester United 1-0 at home, have seven points each.

In the last round of group matches in two weeks, Cluj visit United, while Galatasaray go to the eliminated Braga.

Pedro scored in the seventh minute off his left foot and in the 15th from a pass by Modou Sougou.

Braga replied two minutes later, when Alan took a high pass from Ruben Micael and shot past goalkeeper Mario Felgueiras.

Pedro slammed his third in with his right foot from about 15m in the 33rd in a game in which Braga won two-thirds of possession, but were let down by a weak defense.

“The mistakes cost us dear,” Braga manager Jose Peseiro said. “I am guilty, mistakes were made that we should not have allowed ... but I am the only guilty one.”

Paulo Sergio, Cluj’s new Portuguese coach, was satisfied with the result against a tireless Braga.

“The result was great,” he said. “We had a good first half with the commitment of the players and their determination.”