Belarusian Cup 2019/20 Betting Update and Prediction
Belarusian soccer has become incredibly popular recently, but the Premier League is not the only competition in the news. The Belarusian Cup follows the conventional fall/spring schedule, rather than the spring/fall league format, so it has already reached the semifinal stage.
Although clubs from the Belarusian First, Second, and even some amateur leagues can take part, by the time the later rounds come around, there is usually only the biggest Premier League sides left. That has turned out to be the case this year, too.
In this Belarusian Cup betting update, I’m going to take a look at the remaining four sides and how they have gotten on in the cup as well as at the start of the new league campaign. I’ll also make my own predictions on how the rest of the games will go and make my own pick for the 2019/20 Belarusian Cup winner.
Belarusian Cup Betting Odds
As expected, there are some big names left in the cup this year, including the two main teams from last year’s Premier League title race — Dynamo Brest and BATE Borisov. They were separated in the semifinal draw, however. BATE was picked out with Slavia Mozyr, while Dynamo Brest plays Shakhtyor Soligorsk.
All apart from Slavia Mozyr are established top-flight clubs. Slavia has tended to yo-yo between the Premier and First Leagues over the last ten years and finished in eighth last year as the others occupied the top three positions.
Now for a closer look at the four clubs and their chances of success.
The club won the Premier League for the very first time last season, taking the title from BATE, who had become almost perennial champions. In the end, Dynamo lost just one game all season and finished five points clear of its closest rival. The cup run was just as successful. City rival Rukh was beaten 1-0 in the round of 32, followed by a 3-1 victory over FC Minsk in the round of 16.
Those games were back in the summer months of 2019, however, and the start of the new league season has not been as successful for the reigning champions. Just before the new league campaign kicked off, Dynamo scraped past Isloch on penalties in the quarterfinals after two goalless draws in the two legs of the tie. There was just one win in the first three league games, too.
But things are beginning to look up now. Dynamo won again in the league at the weekend — against Isloch once again — and has now climbed up to fourth in the table. The first leg of the semifinal ended in a 2-0 win over Shakhtyor Soligorsk and puts Dynamo in pole position to make the final. The veteran Artem Milevskyi has been instrumental so far and could be an option in the second leg, as the main strikers haven’t really got going yet.
The big team in Belarus in recent years, BATE won 13 straight league titles before Dynamo Brest broke the run last season. After making the final of the cup for the previous three years, a quarterfinal exit made it a particularly disappointing campaign. Kirill Alshevsky was promoted from the reserves to take over as manager, but it has been a rocky start for the newly appointed boss.
Two defeats to begin with surprised everyone. There have been back-to-back victories in the league since then, but BATE went down in the first leg of its semifinal to an early goal by Slavia Mozyr. Although the tie is far from over, there has been something very unconvincing about the team so far this season.
There was little change at the club in the offseason, so it is unclear what exactly has gone wrong. Igor Stasevich — who has won the league’s player of the year award in four of the last five seasons — is still the heartbeat of the BATE side, and he oversaw the 3-0 win against FC Minsk at the weekend. It may be that BATE is now slowly waking up this year, and with another two weeks before the second leg at home with Slavia Mozyr, it should probably be considered favorite to reach the final.
The odds for Slavia Mozyr to win the cup are still relatively short considering it has that second leg with BATE to play. But it has been a good start to the season for the club that only came back up to the top flight again last season. A mid-table finish was regarded as a success for the club from the south of the country, and a decent cup run was definitely a bonus.
Slavia’s route to the semifinal stage has been fairly fortuitous, however. After dispatching second-tier NFK Minsk in the round of 32 — but only after extra time had been played — Vitebsk was beaten in the next round. Then the disbandment of Dnyapro Mogliev as a club before their quarterfinal tie could be played saw Slavia through by default.
Now Slavia Mozyr has that narrow one-goal lead to take to BATE Borisov in the second leg. There could well be some confidence at the club, though, as the 2020 league campaign has started brightly with two wins and a draw from the first four games leaving Slavia third in the table. Two of those wins came against BATE and Dynamo Brest, so the opposition has been of a high standard.
This tie may not be quite as straightforward as BATE Borisov’s players would have originally thought.
The rank outsider at this stage of the Belarusian Cup is Shakhtyor Soligorsk. This is more down to the outcome of the first leg at Dynamo Brest than with the team itself. Soligorsk is the current cup holder after beating Vitebsk in the final last year. But a third-place finish in the league qualified the club for European competition, so that should not be seen as a one-off.
This season has not begun quite as well, however. There has been just one win in the opening four games and just two goals scored in that time. The most recent result was a goalless draw with the minnows of Smolevichi, so there has been little to convince that Soligorsk will be able to overturn the two-goal deficit at home to Dynamo Brest in the second leg.
The one crumb of comfort for Soligorsk is that it overcame the current league leaders, Torpedo-BelAZ Zhodino, in the quarterfinals at the beginning of March. It needed two very late goals in the second leg to confirm the victory, but Torpedo has shown that it is a good side this year. If it can score the first goal early on in the second leg, then it may have a positive effect on the players and make the game an interesting watch.
Belarusian Cup Pick and Prediction
After the collapse of last year, BATE will want to reclaim its Premier League crown and prove its place at the top of the Belarusian game. Although that hasn’t quite been the case in the opening rounds of the season, the cup gives the club an excellent chance to reassert some dominance.
As much as Slavia Mozyr may fancy its chances in its second-leg game with Dynamo Brest, I think that it will be the bigger two clubs that make the final. With a one-off game to finish the tournament off at the end of May, it could go either way, of course. But BATE will definitely have something to prove, and that would set things up even more nicely for the rest of the season in the league.
To bet on the Belarusian Cup and the matches along the way, take a look at the quality sites in our soccer betting guide.