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Botev is the winner of the Bulgarian Cup for the 23/24 season

Botev (Plovdiv) is the new winner of the Bulgarian Cup. The Canaries defeated Ludogorets 3:2 in the dramatic final played at the Vasil Levski National Stadium in Sofia.

The match was played in front of about 13,000 people in the stands, of which over 10,000 were supporters of Botev (Plovdiv). The fans of the “yellow and black” made sure to create an atmosphere that befits a fight for the trophy.

Protected by this incredible audience, Botev’s players opened the score after only 4 minutes of play. The “Canaries” executed a short corner, Ivelin Popov Centered and at the near post Antoine Conte sent the ball with his head to the goal of Ludogorets for 1:0.

However, the joy of Dusan Kerkez’s boys was short-lived. Just 4′ after the opening goal of the match, Ludogorets equalized after Kwadwo Duah scored to make it 1:1.

Botev waited for his moment at the very end of the first half. A fine through ball from James Eto’o found Martin Sekulic alone in front of the goalkeeper and the striker made no mistake to make it 2:1.

In 58′, Botev led with a two-goal difference. Mohamed Brahimi took the ball in the half of the “yellow and black” and advanced. His precise pass found Umeh Emmanuel, who scored for 3:1.

However, Ludogorets again found the strength to return to the match. In the 71′, Ruan Cruz, who came from the bench, scored for 3:2.

The final minutes of the match turned into a real drama. The players from Razgrad put the “canaries” under serious pressure, and Dusan Kerkez’s boys, on the other hand, missed good chances on the counterattack, with which they could have finally eliminated the intrigue in the match.

The peak of all the drama occurred in the continuation of the fight. The referee appointed 7′ minimum added time, and at the very end awarded a penalty for Conte’s foul on Dinis Almeida. Thus, in the 11′ of added time, Ruan Cruz had to take a penalty for Ludogorets, as the striker’s shot flew over Hidayet Hankic’s goal. Immediately after that, the final referee’s signal sounded, marking the Cup for Botev.

Thus, the “canaries” added the 4th national cup to their showcase and the first since 2017, when they again defeated Ludogorets in the final. Dusan Kerkez became the first foreign coach to lift the trophy with Botev (Plovdiv). This is also the second significant success for the team in the era of Anton Zingarevich after the third place just two seasons ago.

Botev will also return to the European stage, as success in the Bulgarian Cup means that next season the team will participate in the first qualifying round of the Europa League.

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