SOFIA, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Velizar Dimitrov's early goal gave Bulgaria a 1-0 victory over Romania on Saturday to hand the Group G leaders their first defeat in Euro qualifying.
Bulgaria moved on to 22 points, one point behind the
Netherlands, but have only a slim chance of reaching next year's
finals as the Dutch should make sure of progressing with Romania
when they host Luxembourg later on Saturday.
In front of less than 10,000 spectators at Vasil Levski
Stadium, the home side went in front after six minutes when
Martin Petrov curled in a tempting cross from the left and
Dimitrov scored with a firm header.
Romania replied in style as Banel Nicolita was put through
on goal but was denied by Bulgaria goalkeeper Dimitar Ivankov 10
Ivankov did even better seven minutes before halftime when
he saved Daniel Niculae's thunderous shot from the edge of the
Bulgaria started positively in the second half. Romania
keeper Bogdan Lobont parried a shot from 20 metres by Stilian
Petrov after 59 minutes while Martin Petrov blasted just over
the bar few minutes later.
Dimitar Berbatov, searching for his 39th international goal
in 60 appearances, missed a golden opportunity to double
Bulgaria's advantage with 10 minutes remaining after failing to
covert Hristo Yovov's precise cross from the right.
Riot police were forced to intervene at halftime after
Romanian fans began fighting amongst themselves.