By Denis Orlov
A rare defeat for FC Dinamo Minsk has seen FC BATE Borisov steal their way to the top of the Belarussian league.
Dinamo's run of eleven games without defeat ended in round 20 of the competition with a 2-0 defeat at FC Torpedo-SKA Minsk, and BATE took full advantage with a 1-0 defeat at FC Transmash Mogilev which helped them to make it 12 points from their four games in the last four weeks.
Having won 4-2 against FC Slavia Mozyr in round 18, and 3-0 against FC Dinamo Brest the following week, Dinamo had carried a two-point lead over BATE into the game against Torpedo-SKA, but are now one-point adrift of BATE despite gaining revenge against Torpedo-SKA with a 6-1 win in their most recent game.
That is because BATE have been in such powerful form. Having won 1-0 at champions FC Gomel in round 18, a 3-0 win against FC MTZ-RIPO Minsk, the 1-0 win at Transmash and most recently a 2-1 win against FC Torpedo Zhodino has seen them continue their charge for the title.
However, theirs has not been the only success story in Belarus this month. Belarussian international striker Roman Vasilyuk has also been something of a hero, scoring his 100th and 101st top-flight goals as Dinamo Brest drew 2-2 at home against Torpedo Zhodino on 22 August.
FC Shakhtyor Soligorsk have also had reason to be cheerful. Third in the table, six points adrift of league leaders BATE, a 1-0 win against FC Zvezda-VA-BGU Minsk on 12 September saw them extended their unbeaten run of home games to 58 with a European place for next season not out of the question.
However, things have been less happy for Belshina who made their second coaching change of the season after round 20, with Serguei Borovsky taking over from Igor Gasuta who had himself come in for Vladimir Gevorkyan in May. Belshina remain bottom of the table with only seven points from 21 games.
Second-from-bottom MTZ-RIPO have also had reason to be miserable. Although wins against FC Lokomotiv Vitebsk and Belshina lifted them in recent weeks, they have been deducted three points after their 3-0 round 17 win at Zvezda-VA-BGU became a 3-0 defeat because they fielded an ineligible player, the suspended Andrei Dyatel.
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