Plzeň draw against BATE in maiden Champions League group stage match
Czech football champions Viktoria Plzeň played in their first-ever Champions League group stage match on Tuesday, facing off against Belarus’s BATE Borisov. Buoyed by a goal from Marek Bakoš late in the first half, the club showed plenty of spark, but the more experienced Belorussian team came back, leading to a 1:1 draw.
So it was a shock for the team, then, that the Czech side struck first on the final shot of the first half. Pilař sent the ball to Jiráček who crossed to Bakoš who scored, continuing to show great form after scoring six goals in the qualifying stage.
“Of course I am disappointed because we led 1:0 and there were opportunities that we missed that could have won us the game. We had a set piece where Limberský missed in the penalty area and there was another close chance. To me it seems that BATE scored on their one good opportunity. The match, of course, wasn’t the most precise; but I think our team - and theirs - approached this as an opening group stage match in which it’s important not to lose. Both teams played more responsibly at the back. It was about getting the points. Of course I’m happy we got one, but I would have preferred three.”
A number of players, including Milan Petržela, also rued missed opportunities in the second half but overall were satisfied with their performance.
Petržela described as “wonderful” the first-time experience of playing in the group stage of football’s most prestigious club competition, something that he said players had only previously known from TV. The team will play AC Milan, who on Tuesday tied 2:2 with defending champions Barcelona, next.