05.09.2008 at 19:00
Referee: Marco Borg (Malta)
Kurdov 44 mins,
Tsvetanov 77 mins;
Nikolay Mihaylov (capt.),
Nikolay Diulgerov for Ognyanov 35 mins;
Atanas Zehirov for Baltanov 76 mins;
Todor Kolev for Tsvetanov 83 mins;
Padraig Amond -> James Berrett (69)
Bulgaria 2-0 Republic of Ireland
The Republic of Ireland Under-21s fell to defeat in Sofia, when a goal in either half gave Bulgaria a 2-0 victory.
Goals from Atanas Kurdov and Momchil Tsvetanov condemned Ireland to defeat in this UEFA Under-21 European Championship qualifier.
The intense heat did not stop the Irish from bringing the game to their opponents, with the attacking trio of Alan Judge, Sean Scannell and Keith Treacy (left) looking lively from the start.
Despite some clever midfield play from both sides, goalmouth action was few and far between, with Lachezar Baltanov’s 35 yard effort on 20 minutes, comfortably saved by Shane Redmond, the first real shot of the game.
The home side took the lead on the stroke of half-time. Tsvetanov broke down the left and pulled the ball back to Kurdov, who turned and shot low into the far corner past Shane Redmond.
Owen Garvan was denied the opportunity to draw level straight after the restart when he narrowly failed to connect to Sean Scannell’s through-ball.
Moments later, Treacy drilled the ball across the face of the goal as the Irish pushed for an equaliser.
Ireland captain Eddie Nolan had the next chance of the game when he headed over from Seamus Coleman’s free-kick on 56 minutes.
Despite applying a degree of pressure, it was the home side who were to get on the score-sheet again.
In the 77th minute, Tsvetanov drifted in from the left and blasted his shot low into the Irish net.
The Republic of Ireland will travel to Madeira to take on Portugal on Tuesday (kick-off 6pm Irish time) for their final UEFA Under-21 European Championship qualifier of the campaign.
Bulgaria: Nikolay Mihaylov (capt.), Pavel Vidanov, Nikolay Bodurov, Ivan Ivanov, Viktor Genev, Lachezar Baltanov (Atanas Zehirov, 76 mins.), Maryan Ognyanov (Nikolay Diulgerov, 36 mins), Atanas Kurdov, Biktor Petakov, Nikloay Chipev, Momchil Tsvetanov (Todor Kolev, 82 mins)
Substitutes not used: Maryo Kirev, Todor Stoev, Kostadin Gadjalov, Ivan Tsachev
Republic of Ireland: Shane Redmond, Seamus Coleman, Michael Liddle, Eddie Nolan (capt.), Darren Dennehy, Jimmy Ryan, Alan Judge, James Berrett (Padraig Amond 69 mins), Sean Scannell, Owen Garvan, Keith Treacy
Substitutes not used: Stephen Henderson, Stephen Gleeson, Simon Madden, Brendan Moloney
Referee: Marco Borg (Malta).
Bulgaria gave themselves an excellent chance of avoiding the wooden spoon in qualifying Group 3 after defeating the Republic of Ireland 2-0 in their final home game of a testing campaign.
Bulgaria had won just one match going into tonight's fixture at the
Georgi Asparuhov Stadium in Sofia – 1-0 against high-flying Portugal last October – but triumphed thanks to goals from Atanas Kurdov and Momchil Tsvetanov either side of half-time. Bulgaria have six points going into their final match in Montenegro on Tuesday, when Ireland (four points) travel to Portugal needing to win to prevent a bottom-placed finish.
Despite the searing heat in the capital, the Irish started well and looked comfortable without creating a real opening. Bulgaria's chances had also been of the half variety before they broke the deadlock moments before the interval, Tsvetanov crossing from the left for Kurdov to finish adroitly beyond Shane Redmond. The goalkeeper was beaten again in the 77th minute as Tsvetanov drove the ball low in the visitors' net to end an eleven-month wait for victory.