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Botev - Arda

Botev - Arda

A late disallowed goal deprived Botev of victory against CSKA 1948

Botev (Plovdiv) and CSKA 1948 finished 0:0 at the “Hristo Botev” stadium in a match of the 32nd round of the Bulgarian championship. The match is part of the playoffs in the battle for 7th place. The most controversial and important moment in the match came in the closing minutes, when Botev’s goal was disallowed by VAR for offside.

Dusan Kerkez made a lot of changes in his squad, with some of the team’s key players remaining on the bench or out of the group, due to the upcoming Bulgarian Cup final on May 15. Eight yellow cards for Ivelin Popov and Antoine Conte prompted the coach to leave them out of the group, as a further official warning would see them miss two games. Atanas Chernev is recovering from an injury and was also not available.

At the very beginning of the meeting, the medical staffs of both teams had to enter the field. A heavy clash in the center and a head-to-head between the visitors’ Antonio Vutov and James Eto’o sent them both to the ground. The CSKA 1948 player even left the field on a stretcher, and Botev’s midfielder finished the match with a bandaged head.

Dylan Mertens and Yevgeniy Serdyuk each had a goal attempt but both goalkeepers made crucial saves.

In 13′, Hidayet Hankic again showed that he is in great form, deflecting a shot from a rival player.

After 30′ of the match, Botev became active in their play. Both Ume Emmanuel and Christian Nachukwu had a chance to score but the score stayed the same. At the end of the first half, Hankic had to intervene again to preserve the goalless draw.

The second half started more actively for Botev. In 63′, the “canaries” organized a good attack, but they only managed to get a corner.

A minute later, Minkov shot dangerously, but it went wide of Petar Marinov’s goal.

In 74′ Ehije Ukaki broke well on the right wing. However, his cross into the penalty area was not well received by Martin Sekulic and there was little danger for CSKA 1948’s goal.

The striker was again involved in a good opportunity for his team in the 82′. Kostas Balogiannis made a good individual run, advanced to the outline and crossed to Sekulic, but the defense of CSKA 1948 did what was necessary to prevent and make it as difficult as possible for Botev’s attacker to shoot.

The most important and controversial moment in the match came in the 85′. A well executed corner for the “yellow and black” found the head of the infallible Ivaylo Videv, who sent the ball towards the goal, it hit the side post and fell into the path of Dylan Mertens, who sent it into the net for 1:0. After review with VAR, however, it was deemed that the Dutchman was offside and the goal was disallowed. Meanwhile, Videv himself ended up with a broken head after being kicked by a CSKA 1948 football player immediately after his play. However, the referee and the VAR decided that there was no way to award a penalty and the scoreless draw remained until the end of the match.

So Botev is in 8th place with 45 points from 32 games. At the moment, the 7th position is for CSKA 1948, as the red team have equal points with the “canaries”, but they have an advantage in direct matches. There are 4 more rounds left until the end of the championship, and in the next round Botev will visit Arda on Saturday, May 11, at 17:00.

STARTING SQUAD : Hidayet Hankic – 17. Nikolay Minkov, 42. Ivaylo Videv, 38. Konstantinos Balogiannis – 15. James Eto’o, 6. Dylan Mertens, 28. Yanis Karabelyov – 40. Christian Nwachukwu, (58′ – 9. Martin Sekulic), 16. Samuel Akere (58′ – 7. Mohamed Brahimi), 31. Ume Emmanuel (73′ – 4. Ehije Ukaki);

RESERVES: 32. Matvey Igonen, 43. Miroslav Georgiev, 30. Lachezar Baltanov, 44. Biser Bonev, 18. Dimitar Papazov, 14. Faustas Steponavičius

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