BELARUS – LITHUANIA 4:1 (2:0)
January 3rd, 2016, St. Petersburg, Peterburgsky SCC, 300 spectators
Best players: Maksim Shvetsou, Svajunas Cyzas
Post match comments
Mikhail Markhel, Head coach of team Belarus:
– The start was very important for us, and we were setting the guys for such a start. But while we were content with the score, we were not content with the play. There were periods when we didn’t perform our best. However, the result is good as an emotional empowerment for the whole tournament, and I hope we will only be improving our performance.
– You look quite tired, what about the team?
– The guys have given all their energy, too and they are a bit out of breath. You see, we have off-season time, so everybody is in different condition, but thanks to our morals we were able to play well.
– You’ve said you were satisfied with the score but not satisfied with the play. What exactly didn’t you like in your team’s play?
– There was too little of playing forward. And I don’t like such a way of “ball rolling”. I may be repeating myself, but we are still lacking fitness to allow us to play attack during the whole match.
– Your captain looks like a copy of Carles Puyol – by his number 2, his hairstyle, and his body constitution. Besides, he is by now leading in the strikers’ competition, with his two goals. Are you not teasing him because of this similarity?
– Indeed, that’s how we call him in the team: Puyol. But he really deserved it. By his dedication, his qualities as a leader and a player. He deserved to be a captain. He is a very good defender, and we count on him very much. For an opening match which is always nervous he has managed to fulfill his task, so now we know we have not made a mistake with the captain.
– What are your other objectives for the tournament?
– We have one objective: to prepare properly for the European Championship Qualifying stage. We have a very challenging group. However, we do not lose optimism, and I believe these guys are able to qualify from the group. Valentin Granatkin Memorial is one of the key stages of our preparations to autumn starts.
Svajunas Cesnulis, Head coach of team Lithuania:
– I would like to thank the organizers for the invitation to this tournament. It’s going to be a sort of pre-season camp before the starting championship. As for the game… It’s the very first match. And the result speaks for itself. We lost to the team that was stronger. It will be difficult, but we’ll make an effort to get ourselves together for the next matches and finish the tournament high.
– In the episode with the penalty kick it seemed that the referee was too early to stop the game while the scoring moment still wasn’t over – has it somehow influenced the players?
– Yes, the referee may have rushed with a whistle, but I cannot say that this changed our play in any way. If the final score had been 1:0, then I would agree it had influence. But we were down 0:3 and it didn’t make much of a difference. I can’t say we lost because of this incident.
– How is it possible to make a “come back” from 0:3? How were you trying to change the pace of the match?
– Substitutions. The guys went onto the pitch determined to change something. And as a coach I liked their mood and the way they played. We didn’t just give practice to the players, but tried to change the game.
– What are the goals for your team for this tournament?
– We came here setting realistic goals. The previous team ceased to exist and we took players that had never played for the national team. We’ll be hosting Euro Qualifying round in Lithuania and we want to qualify from the group. That is why Valentin Granatkin Memorial and the following Baltia Cup are a great chance to prepare. We’ve only had 7 days to practice so far, and we’re creating a new team. Of course, we would like to win every single game, but it’s far more important for us that the players start to feel each other and a team becomes the Team!
Belarus – Lithuania highlights
#4 Belarus – Lithuania