Downing hands Liverpool first leg advantage (video)

Updated: August 2, 2012

Liverpool secured a crucial first leg advantage as they beat FC Gomel 1-0 in their Europa League qualifier in Belarus.

Stewart Downing’s goal on 67 minutes was enough to give Brendan Rodgers a win in his first competitive game in charge of the Reds.

With the Belarusian’s well into their domestic season and Liverpool only starting theirs it was always going to be a tricky assignment for the Rodgers and his charges but they ensured that the former Swansea man got off to a winning start thanks to Downing’s third goal in a Liverpool shirt.

With 23 minutes remaining the former Villa winger cut in from the right and unleashed a 25-yard left-foot shot which skidded past Vladimir Bushma in the home goal.

Gomel had almost opening the scoring a few minutes earlier when Sergei Kozeka hit the upright from long range and Dmitry Platonov put the ball wide with the goal gaping after the ball fell into his path.

The Belarusian Cup winners enjoyed a stronger first half with Igor Voronkov and Aleksandr Alumona all failing with chances while Glenn Johnson and Fabio Borini both has half chances for Liverpool.

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