Champions League

Ludogorets claim first CL win

2014-10-22 23:26
Yordan Minev (AFP)

Sofia - An unstoppable last-gasp, long-range shot from defender Yordan Minev gave Ludogorets a 1-0 victory over 10-man Basel in their Champions League Group B match in Sofia on Wednesday.

It was an historic moment for Ludogorets, who became the first Bulgarian team to win points in the Champions League's group stage.

The result left the chase for second place in the group finely balanced, with Ludogorets, Basel and Liverpool all on three points after three matches, six adrift of runaway leaders Real Madrid.

The Bulgarians, who impressed against Liverpool and Madrid in their previous matches, signalled their intent with a brilliant header from Marcelinho that forced Basel keeper Tomas Vaclik to save on the stretch after 17 minutes.

Ivory Coast midfielder Geoffroy Serey Die was then shown a straight red card for a bad foul on Ludogorets's Cosmin Moti, but the visitors still almost took the lead with keeper Vladislav Stoyanov making a brilliant one-handed save to deny Derlis Gonzalez.

Ludogorets rarely looked like making the most of their numerical advantage, although Marcelinho almost broke the deadlock from a precise cross by Fabio Espinho just before the break.

In the second half, the hosts pressed forward bravely with Espinho testing Vaclik with long-range efforts, but their attacks frequently broke down in the absence of a truly top class striker.

Basel coach Paulo Sousa had made three changes to the team that beat Liverpool 1-0, with Naser Aliji, Derlis Gonzalez and Davide Calla replacing Behrang Safari, Marco Streller and Ahmed Hamoudi, and they looked disciplined and determined despite playing with 10 men for more than 70 minutes until Minev's strike.

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