Bulgaria vs Cyprus (By: Stanioooo)
3rd round of group 3 in League C and Bulgaria host Cyprus in Sofia at Vasil Levski stadium.
Strangely or not the team with the best chances for me to finish 1st in the group is sitting in the last place(Slovenia) with 0 points from 2 matches, while Bulgaria are the leaders with two wins and six points. Cyprus and Norway are taking the 2nd and 3rd place both with 3 points. So, what's the main factor Bulgaria to start in September with max points from two very tricky matches away against Slovenia and at home against Norway? For me, it's not only Petar Hubtchev, the coach of the team, but mostly the collective(team) play we can see in our team. Now we don't have any players who are the main stars and who have to "carry" the team when it's needed. We also miss the big names who have played in the past in Manchester United, Manchester City, Celtic, Aston Villa, Atletico Madrid and so on. Nowadays our best players, who are in the national team, are part of teams in Russia, Israel, Azerbaijan, Poland, Denmark and of course from our domestic league, but that's the reality. But now we have the thing which was the missing part when we had the big names in our team like Martin and Stiliyan Petrov and Berbatov. That's the team play! It took a few years, but it's obvious now this missing part of the puzzle is part of our national team. So, we will continue to struggle against the big ones in Europe, that's true, especially playing on the road, but Bulgarians want to see absolutely self-sharing by the players who are part of the starting line-up, even when the quality is with our opponents. In the last two years under Hubtchev our team got a lot of positive results, mostly at home, beating teams like Sweden, Netherlands, Belarus, Norway and the progressing Luxembourg. Yeah, most of the time with a goal difference, but still victories. Even against France at home we could take the draw, but missed two big goal chances and lost with 0:1. The new thing which happened during the last month, was we finally won a game away from home, as in the last WC qualifications we took only one draw against Luxembourg and 4 losses. Against Slovenia, Bulgaria made a great match and although Slovenians had some good chances to equalize in the end, we succeeded to keep the result and took the full amount of points.
Spas Delev is the most important missing for Bulgaria and that's the main question in our team- who will be the forward? One of the options is Ivelin Popov to take his place, while the other is Popov to play behind the striker or on the wing and our forward to be Radoslav Vasilev. All of the other players in the starting line-up look clear.
On the other side Cyprus is an opponent with less quality even comparing them with Bulgaria. I am not saying that, because I am Bulgarian, that's the facts. In their group of 23 players, who will have the chance to be in the starting line-up against Bulgaria, only five players play away from the Cyprus domestic league and they are Jason Demetriou, Valentinos Sielis, Konstantinos Laifis, Grigoris Kastanos and of course their main star Pieros Sotiriou. I don't want to underestimate them, I know that APOEL Nicosia made some remarkable performances in Europe in the last couple of years and this season AEK Larnaca are going very well, cause they are in the same group with Ludogorets Razgrad(Bulgarian team), but still think their national team in not on such a high level. Their main weaknesses in typical to the Bulgarian ones and it is connected with their performance away from home. In the last 12 matches away from home, no matter if they are friendlies or official ones in qualifications, they have 11 losses and only 1 win against Gibraltar earned in the last minutes of the match. That's not very promising before going to Bulgaria, when we can see they lost even against Jordan, Georgia, Armenia and Estonia. During this qualifications they also lost the opening away game against Norway with 2:0.
When we add that Bulgaria have absolutely positive stats against Cyprus- 4 wins and 1 loss in the last 5 matches, when two of them were played in Bulgaria and our team won them with 1:0 and 2:0, and also the confidence and even the quality is on our side+home factor, this looks like pretty convincing match to play for the hosts. Easy or hard, I am going with Bulgaria with the strong belief in the guys that we can take another three points, fighting for the 1st place till the end and take the promotion for league B!
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Bulgaria vs Cyprus prediction
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