Sports | September 2, 2001, Sunday // 00:00

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Two second-half goals from Dimitar Berbatov saw Bulgaria emerge as 2-0 winners over ten-man Cyprus and leap to the top of European qualifying Group Three for the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

Bulgaria`s class showed in the second half in the Ta`Qali stadium but they had more than a few scares and saw their opponents reduced to ten men after Daniel Theuma was dismissed after 62 minutes before they opened the scoring.

The influence of new German coach Siegfried Held showed on Malta in the first half as their fast, counter-attacking style caused Bulgaria problems. Goalkeeper Zdravko Zdravkov struggled to divert a Michael Spiteri shot in the 16th minute and Chucks Nwoko went close again four minutes later.

However, the introduction of Krassimi Balakov early in the second half saw Bulgaria step up the pace and keeper Mario Muscat was forced to make two good saves from Milen Petkov before Berbatov broke the deadlock.

On 60 minutes he pounced on a rebound from his own partially saved shot to put Bulgaria into the lead, and headed home a second on 70 minutes to end Malta`s hopes of earning a draw.

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