Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bulgaria Watch

The last we heard from Litex Lovich they were headed to Slovakia for the second leg of their match against Zilina in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions' League. This was a huge match, as the winner would only need to survive one more round to reach the Group Stage of 32 teams. With visions of playing Manchester United or Barcelona, Litex headed off to do battle.

The first leg ended 1-1 at Litex, which meant that the Bulgarians had to score at least once to avoid going out on away goals. And in the 49th minute, they did just that, taking a 1-0 lead in the match and a 2-1 lead on aggregate. Two minutes later, however, Zilina equalized, leaving the match dead even. But in the 54th minute, one of Litex's players was sent off, leaving them with only 10 men.

It took only 16 minutes for Zilina to take advantage of their 40-minute power play with a goal. And they tacked on one more goal in the 83d minute to lock up the match and the aggregate victory.

So Zilina advances with a 3-1 win and a 4-2 aggregate victory. Bulgaria is out of the Champions' League for this season.

By the way, the New Saints (who were the champions of Wales) were also eliminated in this round, thanks to a 6-1 aggregate defeat by Anderlecht of Belgium. So the Welsh can go back to focusing on rugby.

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