Bulgaria vs. Czech Republic: Final score 0-1, Bulgaria comes up short in the playoff chase

Claudio Villa

Bulgaria's slim hopes of making the playoff round were dashed as they fell 1-0 to the Czech Republic.

Bulgaria needed a win to have any hope of qualifying for the playoff round, but their hopes were undone by a goal from Borek Dockal early in the second half. The result dropped Bulgaria down to fourth, passed by the Czech's who finished in third place behind Denmark.

The Czech Republic were the aggressor in the first hal,f but couldn't break through with the opening goal despite three excellent chances.

In the 14th minute, Libor Kozák stayed onside and got in behind the Bulgarian high line, running on to a well-placed long ball down the right wing. Kozák raced in on goal unopposed, but goalkeeper Vladislav Stojanov makde himself big as the Czech midfielder skied his shot well over the crossbar.

Later in the 27th minute, Stojanov was again the man of the moment somehow denying Petr Jiracek from close range after the striker found space in the Bulgarian box.

Kozák again had an excellent chance to open the scoring in the 45th minute, but his short-range attempt hit off the post.

Bulgaria came to life a bit as the second half got underway and got their first good chance of the game in the 49th minute when Stanislav Manolev just missed directing a header past Petr Cech. Two minutes later though the Czech's would finally break through.

Borek Dockal received the ball in space 25 yards out from the Bulgarian goal and sent a skipping low shot that kicked up in front of a diving Stojanov and found the back of the net to give the Czechs a 1-0 lead.

From there Bulgaria's frustration grew and the tackles became more aggressive. Finally in the 75th minute, Petar Zanev was shown a red card after picking up his second yellow of the match.

Bulgaria: Stojanov, Zanev, Minev, Ivanov, Milanov (Rangelov 45'), Manolev, Popov, Milanov, Gadzhev, Hristov (Slavchev 73'), Gargorov (Marquinhos 56')

Goals: None

Czech Republic: Cech, M. Kadlec, Suchy, Mazuch, Rajtoral, Kozák, Dockal (Vanek 84'), Plasil, Hubschman, Jiracek, V. Kadlec (Lafata 90')

Goals: Dockal (52')

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