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Champions League | Second Qualifying Round | 1st Leg
Jul 26, 2023 at 6pm UK
Tsirion Athlitiko Kentro

Aris Limassol
6 - 2

Gomis (17' pen., 60'), Bengtsson (32'), Bane (39' og.), Sean Montnor (83'), Stepinski (90+1' pen.)
FT(HT: 3-0)
Kontsevoy (48'), Khadarkevich (65')
Grechiho (72'), Gromyko (87'), Islamovic (89')

Preview: Aris Limassol vs. BATE Borisov - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Aris Limassol vs. BATE Borisov - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Champions League clash between Aris Limassol and BATE Borisov, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Entering the Champions League qualifiers at the second round stage, Cypriot champions Aris Limassol host BATE Borisov of Belarus at Alphamega Stadium on Wednesday.

While Aris will make their debut in Europe's top club competition, BATE are regulars on the continental scene and have already seen off one challenger for a group-stage place this summer.

Match preview

Only the third-largest team in Limassol, last season Aris upset all the odds to beat city rivals Apollon and AEL - plus capital clubs Omonia and APOEL Nicosia - to the Cypriot First Division title.

Having previously been mired in a miserable cycle of demotion and promotion, the Light Brigade charged to the top of the table during the championship round of the 2022-23 campaign, which had begun with their first-ever European adventure - albeit a brief one.

In last summer's Europa Conference League qualifiers, Aris finally made their debut in UEFA competition, but they exited in the second round to Neftci Baku despite winning the first leg 2-0 on home soil.

Such an uplift has been made possible by the investment of Belarussian president Vladimir Fedorov - who will now see his club face the champions of his home country on Wednesday - and highly-rated head coach Aleksey Shpilevsky.

The latter was unsurprisingly voted 'coach of the season' in Cyprus, and after recently traversing a pre-season campaign featuring two wins and two defeats from five games, the 35-year-old helped his team lift the Cypriot Super Cup last weekend, with a 2-0 success against Omonia.

Now, they embark on an improbable quest to reach the prestigious Champions League group phase, but an experienced BATE Borisov squad stand between them and a place in the third qualifying round.

Whichever side comes out on top over two legs will meet the winner of a tie between Rakow Czestochowa and Qarabag, with the losers dropping into the third round of Europa League qualification.

BATE recently overcame Partizani Tirana to advance from the first round, as after playing out a 1-1 draw in the Albanian capital they won 2-0 in Hungary - the Belarussian club's home for European matches due to the country's role in the conflict in Ukraine.

In last Tuesday's decider, Vladislav Malkevich and Aleksandr Shestyuk struck during the second half at Mezokovesdi Varosi Stadion, sealing progress and a trip to Cyprus this week.

By contrast with Aris, the Zholto-Sinie have appeared in UEFA group stages four times over the past decade, though they are now making a first appearance in Champions League qualifying since 2019, when they fell in the second round.

Kirill Alshevsky's current side sit fourth in their domestic top flight after 14 games and will now head to Limassol having put together a five-match unbeaten run in all competitions.

Aris form (all competitions):

  • W

BATE Borisov Champions League form:

BATE Borisov form (all competitions):

Team News

Aris coach Aleksey Shpilevsky will be forced to make at least one change to the team which started the Super Cup win last week, as English midfielder Morgan Brown - formerly of non-league Stratford Town - will sit out Tuesday's clash due to suspension.

Veljko Nikolic may step into the starting XI, with Matija Spoljaric also featuring in the hosts' engine room.

Brazilian goalkeeper Vana again takes his place behind a back four, but last term's 13-goal top goalscorer and Cypriot League MVP Aleksandr Kokorin has returned to Fiorentina after his loan deal expired. Mariusz Stepinski and Mihlali Mayambela - both scorers in the Super Cup - should therefore be paired in attack.

BATE, meanwhile, will turn to Dmitry Antilevsky and Belarus international winger Vladislav Malkevich for inspiration up front.

Recently acquired from domestic rivals Dinamo Minsk, Ruslan Khadarkevich should start in central defence, while Valery Bocherov captains the visitors from midfield.

Aris Limassol possible starting lineup:
Vana; Medioub, Brorsson, Sane, Urosevic; Montnor, Nikolic, Szoke, Spoljaric; Mayambela, Stepinski

BATE Borisov possible starting lineup:
Kudravets; Nechaev, Khadarkevich, Bane, Jimoh; Gromyko, Bocherov, Grechikho; Malkevich, Antilevski, Kontsevoy

We say: Aris Limassol 2-1 BATE Borisov

Something of an unknown quantity at continental level, Aris have invested wisely over the past few years and could be poised to make progress in Europe.

While BATE have the advantage of being deep into their domestic season, the hosts' small but passionate support - and a smattering of quality players - should prove enough to secure a handy first-leg lead.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 2.5:data

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3Dinamo Minsk116501871123
4Dinamo BrestDinamo Brest1154222101219
5Slavia MozyrSlavia Mozyr115331812618
8BATE BorisovBATE114341411315
9Arsenal Dzerzhinsk11425910-114
14Dnepr Mogilev11146615-97
15FC MinskFC Minsk11047618-124
16Shakhtyor SoligorskSoligorsk11137820-12-14
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