Belarus ease past Luxembourg
Hosts claim routine victory to strengthen grip on second
Last Updated: 07/06/11 9:03pm
Kornilenko: On target for Belarus against Luxembourg
Belarus strengthened their grip on second place in Euro 2012 qualifying Group D with a routine 2-0 win at home to minnows Luxembourg.
Sergey Kornilenko fired the hosts ahead from the penalty spot after 48 minutes and Anton Putsila secured the three points with his side's second inside the final 20 minutes.
The result lifts Belarus onto 12 points after seven games, just one point behind group leaders France who have a game in hand. Luxembourg remain bottom of the pile with just one point from seven games.
Belarus were slow out of the blocks and failed to break down the visitors' defence until close to the half-hour mark when Putsila hit a rising shot over the bar.
Indeed Luxembourg kept Belarus more than honest in the opening 45 minutes, with Daniel da Mota in particular not afraid to shoot when given a sniff of goal.
The two sides reached the interval with the scoreline blank, although it took just three minutes of the second period for the hosts to make the breakthrough.
Luxembourg defender Eric Hoffmann was the offender as he handled in his own penalty area, and Kornilenko, who spent part of last season on loan at Blackpool from Zenit St Petersburg, did the necessary from 12 yards.
Still the visitors would not be overawed, and threatened three times through Dimitri Kitenge in the second period as Belarus continued to look unconvincing in all areas of the park.
But the result was finally put beyond any doubt in the 73rd minute when Putsila picked up the ball in the area and lashed home a fierce left-footed drive into the roof of the net.
Both sides are next in qualifying action on September 2, when Belarus play host to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Luxembourg welcome Romania.
European Championship Qualifying
European Championship Qualifying Group A
European Championship Qualifying Group B
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European Championship Qualifying Group C
European Championship Qualifying Group D
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European Championship Qualifying Group E
European Championship Qualifying Group F
European Championship Qualifying Group G
European Championship Qualifying Group H
European Championship Qualifying Group I