Bulgaria's Football Team Apologize to Nation after Armenia Defeat
Bulgaria’s football team has offered an emotional apology to its fans after suffering a dramatic 2:1 defeat by Armenia Friday evening.
“I want to apologize to all Bulgarians for the dramatic defeat. We have to play with more confidence and believe in our abilities,” defender Petar Zanev said after the match.
“Each and everyone of us is guilty for that loss. At the half time I told the guys that we have to turn the game around. But after Dyakov was sent off this task was very difficult to achieve and we lost power way before the end of the game.”
“Truth is that even when we were nine-man team, we played a better game than Armenia. It was absolutely realistic for us to win, even with a nine-man team.”
The decisive moment in the game came at the end of the first half, when Bulgaria defender Bodurov was sent off for a last-man tackle.
Aras Ozbiliz scored from the free-kick that ensued.
Lyuboslav Penev’s team started the second half strongly, with Stanislav Manolev missing two chances to equalize.
Kuban Krasnodar’s Ivelin Popov leveled the score from a beautiful free-kick in the 60th minute – but Bulgaria’s hopes for a win were soon dashed, as midfielder Svetoslav Dyakov was sent off for a second yellow card three minutes later.
Yura Movsisyan sealed his team’s victory with an 87th-minute strike.
Earlier, Bulgaria's national anthem was booed and whistled by large groups of home fans.
It extended a hostile welcome by 40 supporters of Armenia, who lined up in the airport hall and lit smoke bombs and firecrackers. They were shouting "gypsies, gypsies" at the Bulgarian delegation which was trying to make its way out.
Bulgaria are second in Group B on 13 points, Armenia have 12 and so do Denmark, who play Italy later on Friday, with Italy having already qualified for the World Cup.