Football: First Victory for Bulgaria in 2022 World Cup Qualifications
Ivaylo Chochev became a hero for the "lions", who scored with a header in the 82nd minute
Bulgaria completely outplayed and beat Lithuania with a goal in the 82nd minute in the fifth match of the world qualifiers of group "C". The hero for the "lions" was Ivaylo Chochev, who scored with a header after a cross from a foul.
For the first time after the disgraceful loss from England in 2019, the president of the Bulgarian Football Union Borislav Mihailov was present at the "Vasil Levski" stadium. Dimitar Berbatov was standing right behind him in the stands.
The first shot was in the 15th minute when Malinov shot just above the crossbar. A serious situation opened up for Despodov in the 31st minute. He went out alone against the guard of the guests, but Shektus managed to secure in a corner kick. 8 minutes later the wing centered to Malinov, as the CSKA-Sofia midfielder tried a technical kick with a heel, but the ball hit the crossbar.
The second half started stronger for the guests, who were close to scoring, but Petko Hristov was on the spot, who kicked the ball with a split from a Lithuanian striker. In the 52nd minute, Todor Nedelev shot from a foul, but the guard caught without problems. In the 57th minute Yasen Petrov made two substitutions, as Dimitar Iliev and the hero for the Bulgarians in the match - Ivaylo Chochev - appeared in the game.
In the 74th minute Despodov for the second time in the match came out alone against the goalkeeper of the guests after a wonderful pass from Iliev, but the wing sent the ball straight to the feet of the goalkeeper, who took a corner.
In the counterattack, a Lithuanian footballer broke away from the Bulgarian defense in the center of the field and was stopped at the edge of the penalty area by Anton Nedyalkov, who managed to steal the ball and probably prevent a goal.
In the 82nd minute, Bulgaria reached the long-awaited goal. Centering the sinner so far Despodov found the reserve Chochev in the penalty area and the former player of "Palermo" scored with his head the precious goal for the "lions" - 1:0. During the repetitions of the goal, there were obviously some quarrels between the referee and the reserve goalkeeper Nikolay Mihailov, because the Bulgarian guard received a direct red card.
For the rest of the match, the Lithuanians failed to create clear positions. Moreover, they opened up and the Bulgarians missed golden opportunities to secure their victory. The biggest pass fell in the 3rd minute of the 6-minute added time, when Dimitar Iliev broke on the right, passed several players, and gave the ball to Despodov on the edge of the small penalty area. Although there was no player of the opposing team next to him, the striker sent the ball into space.
In the remaining minutes, the Bulgarians controlled the ball without trying to score and won.
This is the first victory of Bulgaria in group "C" of the world qualifications and the first victory of Yasen Petrov as a selector of the "lions". Thus, Bulgaria is ahead of Northern Ireland and comes in third place in the group with 5 points (Northern Ireland has played two games less and has 4 points).
Yasen Petrov: A small step forward. But it is a sweet one.
After the match, Head Coach Yasen Petrov gave an emotional interview to BNT, in which he thanked the players and called on the fans to support the team more, "because these guys deserved it".
"They really wanted it. I think we performed well, I want to thank the boys. The atmosphere is really great and I am convinced that this team has a future. We have not won for two years. I hope we will be supported even more because these boys deserved it. The good result from Florence - we can only be proud of the good work we do with the boys. "
Petrov expressed gratitude for the supporters in the stands, who did not succumb to negativity and stood behind the "lions". The coach pointed out that throughout the match the national team dictated the pace of the game and that in both halves they had a good position to realize.
"A small step forward. But it's sweet. After we came back from Italy, we had a day at work. We don't have much time to train everything we want. During these three days, it's not easy to train things. We wanted to put a lot of pressure. , I am glad that they did not create dangers in front of our goal".
Petrov praised Christian Malinov, Georgi Kostadinov, and Todor Nedelev, as well as the reserves. But he stressed that the most important thing was that "we played as a team".
"That's what I want to see and it will bring people back to the stadium."
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