Estonia loses to Belarus in World Cup qualification

Henri Anier in a Nations League match against Hungary in 2018.
Henri Anier in a Nations League match against Hungary in 2018. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The Estonian men's national football team continued their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification tournament with a 2:4 loss to Belarus on Saturday.

While only scoring two goals to Belarus' four, Estonia also held two leads in the 90-minute affair. Forward Henri Anier opened the scoring in the 31st minute after a long pass from Michael Lilander hit him in stride. Anier had to fight through two defenders for a good look at goal which he realized with a smashing strike.

Belarus equalized the match in the 43rd minute after Estonian Bogdan Vaštšuk slid at a Belarusian attacker in the box, not making much contact but catching the referee's attention. Lokomotiv Moscow man Vitali Lisakovich calmly slotted in the penalty to tie the match at 1:1, which also led the two teams to half-time.

Estonia took their second lead of the match with Anier once again finishing in uncertain circumstances. A header directed toward Belarus' goal by Markus Poom landed near Anier, who was able to give it just enough to hit the net for a 2:1 lead.

Belarus tied the match ten minutes later when midfielder Yury Kendysh scored on a header. After Estonian substitute Karl-Rudolf Õigus was sent off in the 77th minutes after receiving two yellow cards, the floodgates opened and Belarus was able to score twice in the last ten minutes.

An unfortunate header by an Estonian defender toward his own goal led to Pavel Savitski chipping goal-keeper Matvei Igonen for a 3:2 Belarus lead in the 81st minute. Just a few minutes later, the ball reached Estonia's net once again. Vitali Lisakovich added to his penalty goal from earlier with a spinning effort from outside the box which made it 4:2 Belarus to cap the match.

Anier: Everyone battled and showed they have heart

Estonian national team forward Henri Anier scored two goals in the loss to Belarus but said post-match that it is not much use if the opponent scores more. "Allowing two goals like that at the end of the match - we allowed a little too many in two matches," Anier said. Estonia conceded six goals to the Czech Republic last week to go with four against Belarus.

Anier continued: "But we all know how the course of events has been. Everyone battled today and showed they have heart. We cannot put our heads down, we must keep moving."

Anier also responded to a question about his two goals: "The first came out pretty well. You see these kinds of goals in Europe often. Or perhaps not too often. Teamwork. I fought hard and had two goals for the team. But at the moment, I am sad the match went as it went."

Estonia is scheduled to travel to Stockholm for a friendly match against Sweden, who welcomed back legendary forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic recently, on Wednesday. The match will be broadcast on ETV2 and ERR's sports portal at 6.45 p.m. Estonian time.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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