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A Belarusian Premier League primer, with two matches taking place today in front of crowds

The only social distancing happening in Belarus is between Minsk and the rest of the Belarusian top-flight

FC Minsk and FC Dinamo-Minsk team players vie for the ball during the Belarus Championship football match in Minsk, on March 28, 2020. - Belarus continue its championship despite all the leagues in Europe cancelled it to curb the spread of the COVID-19, the novel coronavirus. Photo by SERGEI GAPON/AFP via Getty Images

As the picture associated with this article was taken yesterday, you can see there’s one place on earth that’s still playing soccer as if there’s not a worldwide pandemic. And the Belarusian Premier League has two more matches available for your convenience and viewing today starting at 9 a.m. ET.

It doesn’t look like the league is ending anytime soon either: Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko has called Covid-19 a “psychosis” and the head of Belarusian soccer has said “It is a bloated psychological situation.” So if you’re in the mood to watch the 25th best league in Europe, it seems you’ll have plenty of opportunity.

The 16-team league is in the midst of Week 2 of 30, with the bottom two teams suffering relegation at the end of the year, and 13th place forced into a playoff to stay in the top-flight. Right now Minsk and FC Energetik BGU are atop the table on six points with a +3 goal differential.

Smolevichy vs. FC Isloch

Smolevichy +330
Tie +235
FC Isloch -130

Smolevichy had a 1-1 draw last week vs. Dinamo Brest, with BATE loan Vladislav Mukhamedov finding the opening brace of the campaign in the 55th minute. The newly promoted side will be an underdog however to Isloch, who found a 1-0 result at Neman Grodno last week. Momo Yansane opened the club account in the 88th minute last week for maximum points. Isloch was fifth in the table in 2019, missing European football by two places.

Neman Grondo vs. Vitebsk

Neman Grodno +140
Tie +190
Vitebsk +190

Both clubs seek their first point, as Grondo looks to improve on their 10th place finish in the table last season. Vitebsk avoided the playoff drop by a mere one point, and their return was filled with ignominy as Dimitri Ignatenko scored the only goal of the match: an own goal in the 20th minute. Vitebsk is the home of early modernist artist Marc Chagall, but the goal was all too real for the home side.

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