Andy Hautala hits Athletic's third, and his first goal of the day against RTI Minsk

Athletic hit the goal trail with a vengeance yesterday, putting nine past Belarusian side FC RTI Minsk in our friendly match at New Home Park.

As transfer-listed duo Dan Zieleznik and Igor Bulatov are now out of the coach’s plans, two places are up for grabs against liverbenitez on Saturday. With this in mind, Andy Hautala and Nemanja Jankovic can have done their chances absolutely no harm whatsoever by netting five between them.

The coach agreed afterwards saying, “Yes, both players seized the opportunity and have played themselves into contention. There were very good performances throughout the team however, and although the opposition were a lot weaker than we had anticipated, it was a really good moral boosting performance”.

Daniel Hasnas opened the scoring after only eight minutes, firing home Vitor Leocadio’s pass. Twelve minutes later and Liran Tzur slammed home the second goal, having cut in from the left.

Athletic were in full flight by the half hour mark when Andy Hautala evaded a number of challenges before netting the third goal, before hitting his second and Athletic’s fourth just four minutes later following a decisive counter-attack.

The visitors were clearly reeling from this onslaught, but there was to be little reprieve before the break as first Oleg Zhigalov and Nemanja Jankovic added to the scoreline within the final five minutes of the half.

The shell-shocked visitors were put under renewed pressure as the second half commenced, and four minutes in Andy Hautala curled home a super free-kick to complete his hat-trick.

Following the seventh goal, the Athletic players seemed to drop the tempo but midway through the half Nemanja Jankovic showed the visiting defenders a clean pair of heels before firing home from an acute angle.

Athletic still weren’t finished yet, and with eight minutes remaining Liran Tzur coolly rounded the keeper and knocked the ball home to round off the scoring.

Hat-trick hero Andy Hautala said afterwards, “We played really well today and got a good win. It’s good to get a hat-trick and give myself a chance of making the squad for Saturday, but I’ll just have to wait and see if the gaffer thinks I merit a starting place”.

He continued, “It was a good team performance and Liran has been a real find. It’s good that we can score goals from all areas of the pitch, and we posed a real threat from midfield and down the wings”.

“The way they set up, it looked as if they were going to try and hit us on the break, so we had to make sure they never got the chance to counter. Emilio never had anything to do, so I think we did our job well today”.