Cyprus win against Bulgaria
Cyprus made some amends for a disappointing World Cup qualifying campaign by overwhelming Bulgaria 4-1, a defeat which ended the visitors’ already slim play-off hopes.
Konstantinos Charalambides scored twice with further goals coming from AC Omonia duo Michalis Konstantinou and Efstathios Aloneftis to move Cyprus within two points of their visitors in Group 8.
Dimitar Berbatov had brought Bulgaria back into the contest, striking to make the score 2-1 on the stroke of half-time, but the hosts streaked clear again after the break to secure only their second victory of the campaign.
The final scoreline was in marked contrast to the opening stages, with Cyprus nearly conceding twice in the first ten minutes when Berbatov was denied by home goalkeeper Sofronis Avgousti and Blagoy Georgiev hit a post.
However, Cyprus then stunned Bulgaria in the eleventh minute as a quick free-kick released Konstantinos Makrides, who then pulled the ball back for the unmarked Charalambides to finish from close range.
The lead was soon doubled by the same player when a mix-up in the Bulgarian defence allowed him to race on goal and easily beat Dimitar Ivankov.
Berbatov halved the deficit with a cool finish and the visitors then passed up a golden opportunity to equalise when Georgiev again connected with the woodwork – a miss his side were made to rue when Konstantinou volleyed in just before the hour mark.
With 12 minutes remaining, Charalambides sent in Aloneftis to make it four.
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