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Apr 12, 2020 at 3pm UK
SoligorskShakhtyor Soligorsk

Vakulich (62'), Mukhamedov (67'), Barsukov (72'), Alibekov (87'), Gomelko (90+2')

Palitsevich (27'), Sachivko (54'), Ivanovic (87')

Preview: Smolevichi vs. Shakhtyor Soligorsk - prediction, form guide, head-to-head record

:Headline: Preview: Smolevichi vs. Shakhtyor Soligorsk - prediction, form guide, head-to-head record:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Belarusian top-flight clash between Smolevichi and Shakhtyor Soligorsk, including predictions, form guide and head-to-head records.
Sports Mole

The action in the Belarusian top flight continues this weekend, and Smolevichi will be looking for their first league victory of the campaign when they welcome Shakhtyor Soligorsk on Sunday.

Smolevichi have only collected one point from their first three matches to occupy 15th position in the table, while Shakhtyor sit ninth with four points to show from their three fixtures thus far.

Match preview

The majority of football across the globe has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, but the Belarusian top flight continues, and there are no signs of the action being halted, which is a huge surprise.

Smolevichi were promoted back to the top tier for the current season having finished second in the Belarusian First League last term. Aleksandr Brazevich's side finished the 2017-18 campaign in 13th spot, though, and the early indications are that it is going to be another tough season.

They actually opened their campaign with an impressive 1-1 draw against the reigning champions Dynamo Brest but have lost their last two against Isloch and Vitebsk, both by one goal to zero.

The home supporters will also be concerned by the fact that their side has not won a top-flight Belarusian game in their own stadium since August 2018, losing five of their last six during a disappointing run.

Shakhtyor, meanwhile, have already played seven times this season due to the cup competitions. They lost 2-0 to Dynamo Brest in the Super Cup at the start of March but have beaten Torpedo BelAZ in the Belarusian Cup this term and will take on Dynamo Brest in the second leg of their semi-final clash later this month.

In terms of the league, Yuriy Vernydub's side started their campaign with a 1-0 defeat at home to Torpedo BelAZ before picking up their first victory away to Gorodeya on March 28; they then made it four points for the season with a goalless draw at home to Neman Grodno last weekend.

Shakhtyor have not finished lower than third in the Belarusian top flight since 2009, while they lifted the title back in 2005. The Moles have also been runners-up on six occasions, most recently in 2018.

Vernydub's team have also won the Belarusian Cup on three separate occasions, including last term. It would be fair to say that they are a side that expect to be towards the top end of the division come the end of the season and will certainly be targeting their second league victory of the campaign this weekend.

Smolevichi form: DLL

Shakhtyor form: LWWLWDL

Head To Head

Shakhtyor have won each of the last three meetings between the two teams, including a 2-0 victory when they last locked horns in the second round of the Belarusian Cup in June 2019.

Their last two league meetings have also been won by Shakhtyor, who recorded a 2-0 victory in their last top-flight clash in November 2018, in addition to a 1-0 success on home soil in July 2018.

We say: Smolevichi 0-2 Shakhtyor

It is difficult to make too much of a case for the home side this weekend. Smolevichi's form in the early stages of the season has been disappointing, while they have only been victorious in one home top-flight clash since June 2018. As a result, we expect Shakhtyor to collect all three points in routine fashion.

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