Belarus 0-2 Bulgaria
Dimitar Berbatov proved just why he has major European clubs vying for his signature by bagging two goals in Bulgaria's Euro 2008 qualifier clash against Belarus on Saturday.
The win provides a massive boost to Bulgaria in its attempts to qualify for the Euro 2008 finals next year, with the team currently sitting at third position in the group table, collecting 12 points from 6 games. Interim coach Stanimir Stoilov will be delighted with his team's performance in his first game at the helm, with Bulgaria commanding over 61 percent of possession.
The Tottenham Hotspur striker could have scored as early as in the 3rd minute, but his effort flew straight at keeper Yuri Zhevnov who easily punched away the ball from danger. Belarus created two good chances at the other end, but Sergey Kornilenko wasted both of them.
Belarus could have taken the lead in the 20th minute when Sergey Shtanuk met a corner flighted in by Timofey Kalachev. However his effort was blocked away by Bulgaria keeper Ivankov. Meanwhile Berbatov was getting closer with his efforts and hit the bar in the 22nd minute but finally succeeded with his attempts in the 28th minute.
Denis Kovba and Yan Tigorev were both left behind as the striker surged ahead and slotted home after evading two more defenders. Berbatov had couple more chances after the first goal but was unable to covert them, while Stilian Petrov went close with a free kick.
Belarus coach tried to turn things around at half time, bringing on Vyacheslav Hleb, but his team were unable to prevent Bulgaria from doubling the lead just a minute into the second half. Berbatov latched on to a good pass from Stanislav Angelov and drove the ball beyond Zhevnov to allow Bulgaria some breathing space for rest of the match.
Both teams had chances to score in the second half, but were unable to do so thanks to some good keeping by both their keepers. Belarus, who have 7 points from 6 games, will have to improve its performance when both the teams meet again on June 6. Bulgaria is currently third in the table with 12 points from 6 matches, 2 points behind second-placed Netherlands. Belarus v Bulgaria finished with a 2-0 away win.
Tags: Dimitar Berbatov, Bulgaria, Euro 2008 qualifier, Belarus, Belarus v Bulgaria